Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous (2005)

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Regina King and William Shatner

Directed by: John Pasquin

After saving the day at the beauty pageant, Gracie Hart is promoted to be the face of the FBI and to boost their public image. When her friend and fellow beauty pageant contestant Cheryl Fraser gets kidnapped along with Stan Fields, Hart takes it upon herself to try and rescue her friend with her new partner Sam Fuller.

After the surprising enjoyment I had watching Miss Congeniality a couple nights ago it was time to check out the sequel while it was still fresh in my memory. A few of the stars of the first movie returned such as Sandra Bullock, Ernie Hudson, Heather Burns and William Shatner but we lost Michael Caine who was one of the best parts about the first movie and there was also no return for Benjamin Bratt, which I didn’t mind too much as he wasn’t particular a standout performer in the first movie although he was integral to Gracie Hart’s character.

Sandra Bullock was once again great as the main character although she had to play a slightly different type of character than before but she’s a wonderful actress whose versatility knows no bounds. Regina King plays her reluctant partner Sam Fuller, who is very similar to how Gracie Hart initially was in the first movie, an angry agent who was career focussed and maybe worked a little too hard on her combative skills. While Regina King was a decent addition to the cast with the amount of experience she brings to the table I just felt that it was lazy writing to make her almost a carbon copy of Bullock’s character from the first movie. As I mentioned above, I was very disappointed that Michael Caine didn’t feature at all as he was one of my favourite parts of Miss Congeniality and instead of him we were given Diedrich Bader who took up the role of Hart’s new makeover specialist. While Bader was ok in his role and added some mildly humorous moments I just felt he was a replica of Caine’s character just without the suave sophistication of the great Michael Caine.

I wholeheartedly feel that Miss Congeniality only got a sequel to cash in on its success because it absolutely didn’t need a sequel, the ending was satisfactory with all loose ends tied. After a quick ganders at Wikipedia to see that the first movie made a gross profit of over $150million it’s easy to see why a sequel got squeezed out. The first movie was fun and felt fresh while the second movie didn’t carry over much of the charm and quick wittedness, everything just felt lazily done this time round but Hollywood doesn’t really care too much about quality as it does profits and if a fun, silly movie like Miss Congeniality can make big money then the sequel(s) are almost inevitable.

Overall, Miss Congeniality 2 fails to continue where the first left off. It’s a movie that didn’t need to exist but did offer some laughs and another good performance from Sandra Bullock.


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