Quite Congenial! 

I Like Miss Congeniality 2 (and Hope Floats)

Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous
Dir. Pasquin
Opens Thurs March 24
Various Theaters

Sandra Bullock has made an entire career out of starring in shitty movies. Let's take a moment to scroll through the catalogue: Speed, Speed 2: Cruise Control, While You Were Sleeping, Hope Floats, Practical Magic, Miss Congeniality, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, and now Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous. And even though all these movies are crap (I mean, does Sandra even get an invitation to the Academy Awards?), none are movies I would turn off if I came across them on late night television. Why? Because I'm a sap, and Sandra Bullock is charming.

There are obviously people who feel similarly--otherwise, rabid audience members wouldn't have tried to beat the shit out of me and steal my seat at the Miss Congeniality 2 screening, nor would they have been laughing their asses off during the entirety of the movie. Don't worry--I'm not making a case that Miss Congeniality 2 is a great film that you should rush out see. But if you're spending an afternoon chaperoning some teen girls, I can't think of a better way to waste time.

The plot (if you must know) surrounds FBI agent Gracie Hart's (Bullock) rise to fame following the beauty pageant that took place in Miss Congeniality. She writes a book, goes on Oprah, and, to add some conflict to her perfect life, she's mourning a breakup (with Benjamin Bratt, who's nowhere to be seen) and she has a grouchy partner/bodyguard. And even though it seems like Gracie's got it made, her heart longs for some nitty-gritty FBI casework.

Cue plot twist, and suddenly Gracie's great friend from the pageant, Miss United States, has been kidnapped and ransomed, and guess who's on the case? (No, guess. No, really--try and guess!) Anyway, the story is contrived and easy as hell to predict, but such is the case with any formulaic cinematic potboiler. I mean if you've ever seen a Sandy B. movie in the past, you know that Sandy + Movie = Cute, Dumb, Funny, and despite its shortcomings, more than a little bit charming.

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