Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous


Sandra Bullock as Gracie Hart
Regina King as Sam Fuller
Enrique Murciano as Jeff Foreman
William Shatner as Stan Fields
Ernie Hudson as McDonald
Heather Burns as Cheryl
Diedrich Bader as Joel
Treat Williams as Collins
Abraham Benrubi as Lou Steele
Nick Offerman as Karl Steele
Eileen Brennan as Carol Fields
Elisabeth Röhm as Janet
Leslie Erin Grossman as Pam
Lusia Strus as Janine
Molly Gottlieb as Priscilla

While Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous isn’t as good as the original, fans of the previous film will definitely want to check it out.

This film is the sequel to the 2000 movie Miss Congeniality.

Three weeks after the events in the first film, Gracie Hart finds herself unable to go on undercover operations anymore due to her newfound fame. Even worse, Eric Matthews dumps her because they are moving too fast. Depressed and feeling unloved, Gracie agrees to becomes the new spokeswoman for the FBI.

Ten months later, Grace Hart has been completely brainwashed by becoming a celebrity. She’s no longer Dirty Harriet, but instead a media darling obsessed by clothes, makeup, hair, and fame. But when her old friends Miss United States and Stan Fields are kidnapped and held for ransom, Gracie flies to Las Vegas to try and help out. Unfortunately, she finds herself pushed aside into the role of spokeswoman.

Determines to save Stan and Cheryl, Gracie begins her own investigation. Tagging along with her is her surly bodyguard Sam Fuller, her stylist Joel, and local FBI agent Jeff Foreman. Can the old Gracie rise to the occasion and save her friends?

Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous is rated PG-13 for sex-related humor.

What Worked:
If you saw Miss Congeniality, you’re probably going to enjoy Miss Congeniality 2. While it’s not nearly as entertaining as the original, it’s still fun to follow the further adventures of Gracie Hart. In fact, the first film is required viewing if you’re going to see the sequel since there are many references to it.

Sandra Bullock returns as Gracie Hart, but this time her Dirty Harriet persona is only briefly shown. Most of the time she’s the brainwashed Gracie dealing with looks and celebrity. While it doesn’t seem entirely true to her character from the first film, it does make a funny contrast for her. Fortunately Bullock is supported by a good cast. Regina King stands out as Sam Fuller. She’s tough, has a bad attitude, and drives a lot of the conflict in the film. Her brute force approach provides many of the laughs of the movie. King gives Bullock a run for her money in the tough department. Diedrich Bader also steals many scenes as Joel, the gay stylist for Gracie. He plays the same sort of role as Michael Caine from the first film, except without the disdain and with a bit more flair. He provides a number of disguises for Gracie in the movie that end up being a fun twist for her character. And surprisingly, one of the funnier moments in the film is a cameo by Dolly Parton. Her appearance comes out of nowhere and ends up being one of the biggest laughs of the movie.

The soundtrack also has a decent mix of pop music. Included among the songs are Tina Turner, Esthero, Natasha Bedingfield, and a number of others. And I think Pink sings the song “Trouble” which is a standout in the lineup.

What Didn’t Work:
Unfortunately, Miss Congeniality 2 takes a while to get rolling. After a relatively strong start, it’s about 50 minutes into the running time before there’s another big laugh. It doesn’t help that they dropped a lot of the elements that made the first film fun. Bullock’s tough FBI agent persona is set aside along with Benjamin Bratt. Losing him pretty much invalidates the romance between their characters in the first film and kind of ruins the enjoyment of it.

The ending of the film is also a bit of a let down. A tender moment where Gracie finds herself again seems forced and cheesy. Fortunately a series of bloopers during the credits helps leave it on a high note.

My only other gripe is about Elisabeth Röhm as Janet. I’m a fan of hers from Law & Order, so it’s a bit of a letdown to see her give up her role on that series for a bad bit part in Miss Congeniality 2. I think she’s able to do better work.

The Bottom Line:
If you’re a fan of the first Miss Congeniality or Sandra Bullock, then you’ll most likely enjoy this sequel. It’s not as good as the first, but it’s a chick flick that everyone can enjoy.