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Miss Congeniality, originally released in late 2000, was directed by Donald Petrie and produced by Sandra Bullock. It stars Bullock (Gracie Hart), Michael Caine (Victor Melling), Benjamin Bratt (Eric Matthews), William Shatner (Stan Fields), Ernie Hudson (McDonald), and Candice Bergen (Kathy Morningside).
While undercover for the FBI, Gracie Hart disobeys orders and puts her team in jeopardy when she saves the suspect from choking to death. McDonald, her superior, puts her on paperwork duty, pending a hearing for her actions. Soon afterwards, the bureau receives a riddle from the Citizen, a serial killer with no profile, motives, or preferred killing method. FBI intelligence manages to solve it, revealing the Citizen's next target – the Miss United States Pageant. They have only 48 hours to get an undercover agent in the pageant to ensure the safety of the participants and to try to capture the Citizen. Hart is chosen, even though she is the exact opposite of pageant material, and Vic, a former pageant consultant and trainer, is brought in to beautify her. Now all that's left is discovering the identity of the Citizen and capturing him before its too late.
For the most part, I like Sandra Bullock as an actress, so I was looking forward to seeing Miss Congeniality. I'm happy to report that the film is excellent and delivers plenty of good laughs. Bullock is almost frightening in appearance at the beginning of the film and her transformation into Miss New Jersey is quite stunning. This is definitely one of her better performances and I came away impressed. Michael Caine adds quite a bit to the film as well, and he has quite a few hilarious moments as he molds her into a contestant. The movie flows well too, with nary a slow moment.
Miss Congeniality is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The transfer is fantastic with vibrant, bold, and well-saturated colors, natural flesh tones, and blacks that are both rich and solid. No complaints here.
Miss Congeniality is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 in both English and French. The 5.1 track is quite impressive for a comedy, as it features more directionality and surround use than I expected. Surrounds, when employed, are quite aggressive. Dialogue throughout the film is crisp and clean, always easy to understand. Optional subtitles are available in English and French.
Extras include: a screen specific audio commentary with Bullock and Marc Lawrence, one of the screenwriters; a second screen specific audio commentary with director Petrie; a ten minute "Preparing the Pageant" featurette; an eleven minute "The Pageant" featurette; cast and crew filmographies; and the film's trailer. Each featurette is filled partly with promotional fluff, but also with interesting information and a few interviews. Each also contains some bloopers from the film along with a few deleted scenes. Of the two commentaries, I enjoyed the one with Bullock and Lawrence the most, as they joke back and forth with each other and describe some of their experiences with and on the film. The commentary with Petrie is much more technical and detail oriented, but is also quite good for fans interesting in knowing more of the background information concerning the shooting of the film.
Warner has provided Miss Congeniality with a great transfer, excellent sound, and some terrific extras. Fans of the stars will definitely want to give the film a look, as well as anyone who enjoys comedies. Highly Recommended!