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Miss Congeniality 2 (PG)

Review by: Jack Foley | Rating: One

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Theatrical trailer.

THE best thing that can be said about Miss Congeniality 2 is that its star, Sandra Bullock, appears to be having fun. Sadly, audiences will not.

The sequel may not be as bad as Legally Blonde 2, but it certainly feels as pointless, coming across as a thinly veiled excuse for Ms Bullock to dress up in all manner of stupid outfits while poking fun at herself repeatedly.

Picking up pretty much where the original left off, Miss Congeniality 2 finds Bullock's feisty FBI agent, Gracie Hart, struggling to do her job given the newfound celebrity surrounding her.

Having successfully disarmed a threat against the Miss United States Pageant, she can no longer work undercover for fear of her identity being exposed, especially in light of the film's bank robbery opening sequence.

Hence, she is recruited as the new face of the FBI in a bid to bring some brighter publicity, and sets about touring the country for book-signings and salon workouts.

All Gracie wants, however, is to be able to return to the wise-cracking, jaw-breaking antics of old, especially since her latest love interest has ditched her for being too clingy.

So when her friends, pageant winner Cheryl (Heather Burns) and emcee Stan (William Shatner), are kidnapped in Las Vegas, Gracie seizes the opportunity to jump back into action, only to find her endeavours placing her at loggerheads with the FBI top brass (headed by Treat Williams) as well as her quick-tempered new partner, Sam Fuller (played by Regina King).

The ensuing comedy-thriller finds Bullock adopting all manner of disguises as she bids to thwart the kidnappers, while continually falling foul of just about everyone around her - including the audience.

Much of the problem lies in the predictability of virtually every scenario, while the stereotyped characters are simply too one-dimensional to provoke many laughs (especially Diedrich Bader's gay stylist and Enrique Murciano's bumbling fellow detective).

John Pasquin's direction also feels laboured, especially since he feels the need to stretch the flimsy premise across nearly two hours, while the overdose of sentiment late on represents the final nail in the coffin.

Only Bullock's charisma and the chemistry she shares with King saves this from being an unmitigated disaster, but in all other aspects this tepid sequel is all (lip)-gloss and no substance.


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