Discs Are Rated
Click above to purchase "Miss Congeniality" at amazon.com
review by Zach B.
Running Time: 110 minutes
Starring Sandra Bullock, Michael Caine, Benjamin
Bratt, Candice Bergen, Ernie Hudson, William Shatner
Written by Marc Lawrence and Katie Ford and Caryn
Directed by Donald Petrie
Retail Price: $24.98
Features: Audio Commentary with Sandra Bullock and
Co-Writer/Executive Producer Marc Lawrence, Audio Commentary
with Director Donald Petrie, Cast and Crew, Documentaries,
Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby
Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, English Subtitles,
French Subtitles, Chapter Search (33 Chapters)
Let me put it this way: the last time Sandra Bullock
produced a movie it made her a new punchline in Hollywood.
That movie was last Winter's critically bashed and bomb "Gun
Shy" (it only lasted about three weeks in theaters... Disney
didn't even give it that much of a wide release). So when
Bullock's next producing project has Julia Robert's
boyfriend, Murphy Brown, Michael Caine and Captain Kirk what
do you get? A surprisingly good comedy.
"Miss Congeniality" finds Gracie Hart (Sandra Bullock),
an F.B.I. agent who can't seem to get anything right. She's
the biggest tomboy you'll ever see chowing down on greasy
foods, wearing clothes that are meant for men and enjoying
fighting as well as exercising. After blowing a mission,
Hart takes the blow from her boss (Ernie Hudson). The F.B.I.
is hot on the trail of a mysterious person named "The
Citizen" commiting horrible acts. Yet after a strange letter
is discovered from "The Citizen", the clues lead to that the
next crime will occur "Miss United States Pageant", a
"scholarship" pageant which is like all the others - young
beauties vying for the crown while bsing that they can make
a difference. While it seems no body at the F.B.I. branch is
suited for the job, there is Gracie, where she reluctantly
accepts to go undercover. While the pageant director
(Candice Bergan) and the co-host (Shatner) aren't too
thrilled, they agree. Hart gets a last name change and she
goes undercover, meeting some strange contestants with a lot
of hilarious comedy along the way. While Gracie may seem to
be an ugly duckling, an exiled associate of the pageant
named Victor Melling (Michael Caine) comes to the rescue to
change Gracie to a beautiful swan - complete with manners.
All of this happens while trying to capture and stop the
mysterious stranger from ruining the pageant.
When I saw the trailer for "Miss Congeniality", I thought
it'd be one of those stupid two star comedies. When I read
some reviews, they ranged from lukewarm to raving. I have to
say this film was a really nice surprise, it was one of the
best comedies I saw in the year 2000. The film is well
written, well directed and has some great performances - not
to mention the film in general is really well made. This
movie is sweet and funny, all while making fun of most of
the bs of being in a pageant (covered better here than the
horrendous "Drop Dead Gorgeous").
The performances here are superb. Bullock as Gracie is
excellent and brings everything that is needed for the role.
She is this woman who seems like a man, but within her there
really is a lovely lady. Her New Jersey accent is perfect
and her acting range is shown here. She is the "Hart" (haha,
stupid pun now shut up) of the film. All in all, her
performance is impressive and believible. She takes the role
and runs with it, so a very nice job on her part. Benjamin
Bratt from "Law and Order" is Bullock's love interest and
partner Eric Matthews, and he does a great job. He impressed
me the most in the film as Bratt shows he does have what it
takes to be a true leading man. The chemistry between him
and Bullock is there and he does bring a lot to this role.
Michael Caine, who I am surprised took this role (I wasn't
sure if this was his type of thing), is the most enjoyable
as Gracie's pageant consultant Vic. His performance is
elegant and fits him quite well, so this was a very nice
surprise as I believe Michael Caine is truly one of the
greatest actors of our time. He really brings a lot to the
movie and it is just fun to watch him. Rounding out the rest
of the cast is Candice Bergen and William Shatner. Bergen is
marvelous as the cold and annoying pageant director and
William Shatner as the pageant's co-host, Stan is funny.
Though his role is pretty small, it isn't incredibly stupid.
Even John DiResta from the crappy and failed UPN sitcom
"DiResta" is in this movie. Heh, it even seems he is
building a career from the credentials I checked.
This movie is really funny. It's not a stupid comedy but
it's not an intelligent one either. Most of the jokes are
drawn from slapstick and commentary on beauty pageants. Some
of the contestant members we meet are funny, because they
are used as jokes for the film, showing how stupid some of
these pageants get with crap on "world peace" and "making a
difference" as well as looking thin with a good image. I did
enjoy the commentary on the pageants, because I think it
does point out some key points that so many pageants are
known for. I do admit though that some jokes are pointless
and fall flat, but most of them are actually funny and will
make you laugh pretty hard. Basically, this movie is
entertaining the whole way through with a script that is
nicely developed complete with some solid direction.
"Miss Congeniality" will bring a grin to your face. It is
a very entertaining movie and is a very good crowd pleasing
film audiences are sure to love. It isn't a "chick flick"
because I think the jokes will appeal to everyone (but the
women are sure to strongly appeal to the men). As long as
you don't go in taking the movie seriously, you'll probably
enjoy it and laugh out loud.
Once again Warner delivers a really spiffy transfer.
Their transfers are always top-notch and still continue to
impress me; I don't know what more I can say than whats
already been said about their transfers. Still, the film is
in 1.85:1 anamorphic widesceen and is simply near-reference
quality except for a little piece of dirt here and there
that I doubt anyone will notice. Colors are bold and
saturated to perfection, I didn't notice any grains,
scratches or dirt and there was no shimmering or noise to
speak of. The image has great detail and an excellent sense
of clarity. No complaints here, you'll probably be impressed
"Miss Congeniality" has a fantastic 5.1 English Dolby
Digital track and a 5.1 French Dolby Digital track. The film
features a bevy of great surrounds, especially in the second
chapter and toward the fun climax. A lot of the stuff here
will light up your speakers. Whether its gunshots or well
mixed music, the 5.1 really packs an impressive punch.
People don't think that comedies don't go well with 5.1 due
to their nature, but there are some great exceptions that
show what some comedies can do, and "Miss Congeniality" is
one of them. Also included are French and English subtitles.
I was quite glad to see a good deal of supplements with
the movie, and everything here is excellent. You don't get
one, but two audio commentaries. One Audio Commentary
is with Donald Petrie, the film's director. There
are some pauses now and then but in the end this is a very
informative track. He's pretty articulate and gives some
good insight onto his choices, though some of his comments
are pretty obvious. He also praises his cast and crew.
Petrie's voice is a little uptight (it got a little annoying
to listen to after awhile), but again, it's worth it.
Despite the pauses, there's a good deal information to
absorb about the film's production.
The second Audio Commentary features Sandra
Bullock and Marc Lawrence, who served as an executive
producer and co-writer. The track's audio sounds a little
weird, there's some hollow and echo effect when listening to
it, but it's not that bad. As far as the actual track goes,
it's exactly what I like in a track. As some of you know, I
like my commentaries fun but also filled with information,
and this track does that and does it perfectly. Bullock and
Lawrence make some jokes and have a good deal of fun with
the track, as well as offering interesting comments about
the movie's production and their thoughts. It seems they had
a great time making the film and doing this commentary, so
be sure to listen to this track. They're relaxed and have
good input, and definently one of the better tracks I've
heard in quite awhile.
Warner has included two Documentaries, though they
are more like featurettes. Preparing For The Pageant
is in full frame and two channel sound, and while that's
the name of "documentary" on the disc, the featurette calls
it "Miss Congeniality: Behind The Beauty" There are
interviews with the cast and crew and it features some
behind the scenes footage as well as clips from the film.
Basically, the cast and crew give insight about the story
and characters. There are interviews with Petrie, Bullock,
Caine, Bratt, the costume designer and others. Within this
featurette you'll find a deleted scene and outtakes. It
lasts nine minutes.
The Pageant is the other "documentary" that lasts
a good eleven minutes. The title for the featurette on the
actual featurette is "Miss Congeniality: Behind The Crown"
It also features behind the scenes clips and interviews with
the cast and crew such as Petrie, Bergen, Shatner and stunt
coordinator Jack Gill. A lot of this featurette focuses on
the beauty pageant scenes. It also has outtakes and two
deleted scenes. It's in two channel sound and full frame. On
a side note, I would have prefered the outtakes and deleted
scenes in a seperate section, but it's still quite nice to
have them on the disc.
Rounding the disc out is the Theatrical Trailer in
anamorphic widescreen and two channel sound, and a listing
of the Cast and Crew.
Warner delivers an amazing package for a great price.
It's a solid film with a solid transfer, an excellent mix
and a perfect amount of supplements. Comedy fans, look no
further and pick up "Miss Congeniality"
(4/5 - NOT included in
NOT an average)