"Miss Congeniality" was lightweight, predictable fun that also turned into a solid hit for star Sandra Bullock. The picture starred Bullock as FBI agent Gracie Hart, who was turned from a frumpy wallflower with violent tendencies to a beauty queen that could still kick butt. Despite the fact that the picture was a sleeper hit, I can't say I exactly saw much to go on for a sequel.
Yet, here it is: Gracie Hart became so popular as a beauty queen that she can't even go out on missions anymore. Unable to do her job as she knows, the FBI decides to use her in a different form - as a spokesperson for the agency. Gracie apparently hasn't learned much from the events of the first film, as she's now turned into something of a diva, who's lost her toughness. Of course, this makes room for the cliched hairdresser role, this time played by Diedrich Bader (gee, I guess Michael Caine didn't want to return.)
Gracie is also stuck with a bodyguard/assistant in the form of Sam Fuller (Regina King), an agent with more underlying anger issues than Gracie does. Obviously, the two are meant to hate each other at first, but grow to be somewhat fond of one another. When the current Miss United States (Heather Burns) and the pageant host (Willam Shatner) are kidnapped, Gracie and Sam are called in to handle PR. However, when the two realize that they aren't going to be listened to by the area FBI chief, they try to solve the case on their own.
The original "Miss Congenialty" didn't exactly have the strongest helmer in Donald Petrie ("Welcome to Mooseport"), but the series has taken a step further down in recruiting John Pasquin, the former TV director ("Home Improvement") that has helmed a series of Tim Allen features, including "Joe Somebody" and "Jungle 2 Jungle". Like the rest of Paquin's fare, "Miss Congeniality 2" has the visual style of a sitcom and about the same sense of humor as most sitcoms these days, too.
There's a few funny moments here between King and Bullock and one bit on the Regis show that's amusing but, aside from that, the picture is limited in the laughs department. Having Shatner tied up for the entire movie doesn't help things either, as Shatner manages to be even funnier when he's not trying to be. Things would be considerably more tolerable had the picture come in at a reasonable 90 minutes or less, but it goes on for nearly two hours.
Screenwriter Marc Lawrence, who wrote the first film (as well as Bullock's "Forces of Nature", which I strongly disliked), just can't come up with enough to fill the running time here, as there's a lot of obvious filler. There are a couple of laughs and some scattered chuckles, but overall, this is definitely a disappointment from Bullock, who is capable of more than an unnecessary sequel like this.
, The DVD
VIDEO: "Miss Congenialty 2" is presented by Warner Brothers in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is a perfectly standard transfer of the material. Sharpness and detail are very good, but just come up short of greatness. The picture remains consistently crisp, but small object detail is just okay.
There were some issues to contend with at times, as well, including some minor edge enhancement that proved to be a slight distraction in several scenes. Only a couple of minor traces of pixelation were spotted, and no print flaws were seen. Colors remained vivid and nicely saturated throughout, with no smearing or other faults.
SOUND: "Miss Congeniality 2" is presented by Warner Brothers in Dolby Digital 5.1. The presentation was essentially a comedy mix, with little use of the surrounds, aside from some minor ambience on a couple of occasions. Audio quality was fine, with crisp, clear dialogue and effects.
EXTRAS: The trailer and some deleted scenes.
Final Thoughts: "Miss Congeniality 2" gets together a few minor laughs but the majority of the picture struggles to find a purpose and enough to throw at the audience to pass nearly 120 minutes (and makes mistakes, like wasting Shatner.) Warner Brothers has produced a DVD that is certainly more suited to a rental for those interested, as there's little in the way of supplemental features. The DVD does boast fine audio/video quality though. Fans of the first may want to try this as a rental, but don't go in expecting much.
Note: For those who are looking to purchase the DVD, there is a version with the film's CD soundtrack that, at most online outlets, seems to be going for only a couple bucks more.