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Miss Congeniality (Warner 2000, Sandra Bullock, Michael Caine)

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Sandra Bullock stars in this comedy thriller as the rookie FBI agent who goes undercover at a beauty contest. Bullock plays the hapless Gracie Hart, who is ordered by her boss (Ernie Hudson) to ditch her drab clothes and dowdy look and ‘glam-up’ for an undercover assignment at the Miss United States beauty pageant. Michael Caine is on hand to get the scatty Gracie a makeover and turn her into a plausible ‘bikini-stuffer’. Apparently realising a long-held ambition to work with Bullock, Caine delivers one of his more nuanced comic cameos of recent times.

As Gracie works the case, befriending some of her fellow contestants, and getting in and out of scrapes, she starts to fall for her team leader (Ben Bratt) while also coming to realise the pageant organisers (Candice Bergen and William Shatner) might not be quite what they say they are.

But Miss Congeniality is very much Bullock’s movie and, with pratfalls and sight gags aplenty, she doesn’t disappoint. Her undeniable screen presence and relish for broad comedy make for a funny and heart-warming film. The film was such a success that Bullock, who also produced Miss Congeniality , went on to reprise the role in Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous .

Two major changes were made during the production of Miss Congeniality: Benjamin Bratt, as an FBI agent, replaced Matt Dillon, and director Donald Petrie (Mystic Pizza, Grumpy Old Men) stepped in for Hugh Wilson (The First Wives Club).

production details
USA / Warner Bros. / 111 minutes / 2000

Director: Donald Petrie
Writers: Marc Lawrence, Katie Ford, Caryn Lucas

cast
Sandra Bullock as Gracie Hart
Melissa De Sousa as Karen Krantz, Miss New York
Wendy Raquel Robinson as Leslie Davis, Miss California
Benjamin Bratt as Eric Matthews
Gabriel Folse as Agent Jerry Grant
Candice Bergen as Kathy Morningside
Deirdre Quinn as Mary Jo Wright, Miss Texas
William Shatner as Stan Fields
Steve Monroe as Frank Tobin
Ken Thomas as Agent Harris
Heather Burns as Cheryl Frasier, Miss Rhode Island
Michael Caine as Victor Melling
Ernie Hudson as Harry McDonald
John DiResta as Agent Clonsky
Asia De Marcos as Alana Krewson, Miss Hawaii
Leeanne Locken as Kelly Beth Kelley, Miss Nebraska
John Cann as Russian Bodyguard

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