"Miss Congeniality" is light-hearted fun entertainment. Sandra Bullock is in fine form as Gracie Hart, a bumbling FBI Special Agent, who goes undercover as a beauty pageant contestant. The film gets off to a flying start, with an excellent pre-credit sequence, featuring Bullock's tomboy character in her youth, delivering justice to some school bullies. One of America's most wanted criminals the "citizen" has targeted the Miss America Beauty Pageant, as his next point of call. This is the chance the FBI & authorities have been waiting for to catch him. Benjamin Bratt plays Agent Eric Matthews, head of the FBI operation who believes that the only way to catch the criminal is to send an undercover agent into the pageant. After a lengthy & humorous computer search for the ideal female agent to go undercover, Bullock's character is reluctantly chosen to go along for the ride. She is not the type of woman you would normally see in an elegant dress & high heels. Just as the movie poster states "Unpolished, Unkempt, Unleashed, Undercover" this is what best describes Sandra's offbeat FBI character.
Beauty pageant consultant Victor Melling (Michael Caine in a polished comedic performance) is called in to transform this tough tomboy agent into the perfect beauty pageant contestant. The Miss United States pageant is being managed by Kathy Morningside (Candice Bergen) & Stan Fields (William Shatner in a funny cameo). A romance develops between Bratt & Bullock when he discovers that behind Bullock's tough FBI exterior lays a sensitive, charming & very beautiful woman. Bullock & Bratt combine well together & the on-screen chemistry works. The two-standout scenes would have to be the well-staged wrestling match at the gym & the comedic self-defense demonstration performed on stage at the pageant. Sandra Bullock produced this action-comedy that has become a smash hit. Made on a budget of about $45 million, it has already gone on to gross over $100 million, in the USA alone. The tagline "Never Mess with an agent in a dress" sums up the mood of this enjoyable film. A must see for Sandra Bullock fans.