Thursday, October 12, 2017

Movie #428: Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous

Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous is, of course, the sequel to Miss Congeniality and stars Sandra Bullock, Regina King, Enrique Murciano, Diedrach Bader, Heather Burns, William Shatner, and Nick Offerman. The best part of it was watching it with Teagan, because she hated it and it was funny.

We pick up three weeks after the events of Miss Congeniality. Gracie (Bullock) has become a minor celeb - she was, after all, a finalist for Miss USA and stopped a terrorist plot - but that fame gets in the way of her career. Faced with a choice between a desk job and a new position as the "face" of the FBI, and reeling from a sudden breakup with her boyfriend Matthews (Benjamin Bratt in the first movie, but he's not in this one at all except as a way to flunk the Bechdel), Hart goes with the latter. She's teamed up with the style specialist named Joel (Bader) and at that point, I thought we were going to get a whole movie of her learning to be fabulous, which would be a retread of the first one.

But no, instead, we cut to ten months later. Hart is going on talk shows and talking about the FBI. She's (ghost)written a book about her life, and exceptionally violent co-FBI Sam Fuller (King) is pressed into service as her assistant. And then her buddy Miss USA Cheryl Frasier (Burns) and...Miss USA Pageant MC Stan Fields (Shatner) who apparently tours with Miss USA?...never mind. They're kidnapped by a pre-Parks & Rec Nick Offerman, and Hart and Fuller get assigned to press duty. Hart, though, goes off script, starts doing her real job again, and foils the bad guys.

So, the bit of this that Teagan hated was that Gracie embraced the shallow, fashion/beauty obsessed side of herself and completely lost her hard edge for most of the movie. I think this movie actually has some things going for it - it's not a complete retread of the first movie, which is always a plus. Bullock is, as usual, charming and funny. Poor Murciano is also funny as the overly-earnest agent completely in love with his (as it happens) unfaithful girlfriend (Elisabeth Rohm in one of her earliest film appearances).

I wasn't crazy about King's character. I like the notion that a comedy starring women could be a buddy movie rather than a rom-com, but Fuller is kinda one-note (seemed to be a scripting issue more than a performance issue). Plus, "angry black woman" hits some uncomfortable notes as presented (particularly since Bullock mocks her dialect a couple of times, which is Not Cool).

Anyway, it's funny in places but it's not as good as the first one and it's pretty vapid all things considered.

My Grade: C
Rewatch Value: Low

Next up: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day