Miss Congeniality (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Donald Petrie|
|Produced by||Sandra Bullock|
|Written by||Marc Lawrence
|Music by||Edward Shearmur|
|Editing by||Billy Weber|
|Studio||Castle Rock Entertainment
Village Roadshow Pictures
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Running time||109 minutes|
The film opens with a flashback to Gracie Hart's childhood. Gracie (Mary Ashleigh Green) is in a school playground where one boy is bullying another. She steps in and beats up the bully to help the victim (a boy she likes). But instead of being grateful, he feels humiliated at being rescued "by a girl," and gets angry at her. She promptly punches him in the nose and then sulks alone in the playground.
Fast-forward to the present day, and Gracie Hart (Sandra Bullock) is an FBI Special Agent. In the middle of a sting operation, the target starts to choke on some food, and Gracie disobeys her superior's command in order to stop the target from choking. As a result, a member of her squad gets shot, and she is reprimanded by being reassigned to a desk job.
Soon afterwards, the bureau learns that there has been a bomb threat against the 75th annual Miss United States beauty pageant in San Antonio, Texas, which the bureau determines came from the notorious domestic terrorist known as "The Citizen". Gracie's partner, Special Agent Eric Matthews (Benjamin Bratt), is chosen to lead the mission to stop the attack. Despite Eric's position as the lead agent in charge, it is apparent that Gracie is the more capable agent, as Eric is unsure of how proceed and takes credit for Gracie's suggestions. One of Gracie's suggestions is to put an agent undercover at the pageant. Gracie's male colleagues then proceed to have a bit of fun running the digital images of female agents through a website meant for children to play dress up with their dolls. Despite the immature and chauvinistic actions of the agents, Eric recognizes that Gracie is the female FBI agent best qualified for the undercover job.
Beauty pageant coach Victor Melling (Michael Caine), whose reputation was ruined after his last contestant criticized his methods, teaches the tomboyish Gracie how to dress, walk, and act like a contestant. She is not used to such behavior, however, and sees the pageant and its participants as "outdated and antifeminist". Eventually though Victor and Gracie come to respect each other's strengths. Representing New Jersey as "Gracie Lou Freebush", Gracie impresses the audience by playing the glass harp and demonstrating self-defense techniques during the talent competition. She also unexpectedly becomes friends with the other contestants.
Several suspects emerge, including the corrupt competition director and former pageant winner Kathy Morningside (Candice Bergen); her unpleasant assistant Frank Tobin (Steve Monroe); the veteran pageant MC Stan Fields (William Shatner) who, like Kathy, is being replaced with a younger person; and Miss Rhode Island—Cheryl Frasier (Heather Burns), who appears to have a history as a radical animal rights activist. The Citizen is arrested elsewhere on an unrelated charge. Gracie begins to suspect Kathy Morningside and is worried about the safety of the girls. Her boss thinks that her suspicions are groundless and that the pageant is out of danger now that the Citizen has been arrested. He calls off the mission. But Gracie opts to turn in her badge and gun and continue the investigation alone. Eric initially fails to support Grace, and is about to return to the bureau when he figures out that Gracie's suspicions must be correct, and returns to help her.
In the final round of the pageant, Gracie earns second place while Cheryl becomes Miss United States. Gracie realizes that Kathy Morningside and Frank Tobin—who unbeknownst to anyone is Kathy's son—impersonated the Citizen and made the threat. Because she was going to be fired after the pageant was over, Kathy and her son were planning to murder the newly crowned pageant winner on stage by putting an explosive device in her tiara, and they hoped to let Gracie take the blame. However, instead, Gracie and Eric save the day and arrest Kathy and her son. Gracie's fellow contestants choose her as "Miss Congeniality," and, as the story ends, a romance blooms between Gracie and Eric.
- Sandra Bullock as Gracie Hart
- Michael Caine as Victor Melling
- Benjamin Bratt as Eric Matthews
- William Shatner as Stan Fields
- Ernie Hudson as Harry McDonald
- John DiResta as Agent Clonsky
- Candice Bergen as Kathy Morningside
- Heather Burns as Cheryl Frasier "Rhode Island"
- Melissa De Sousa as Karen Krantz "New York"
- Steve Monroe as Frank Tobin/Frank Morningside
- Deirdre Quinn as Mary Jo Wright "Texas"
- Wendy Raquel Robinson as Leslie Davis "California"
- Rachel Roberts as Herself
The story is set in New York City and San Antonio. Scenes showing the exterior of the St. Regis Hotel, and a few street scenes, were shot on location in New York, and the Alamo and River Walk scenes were shot on location in San Antonio. However, most of the movie was actually shot in Austin, Texas: scenes depicting the interior of the St. Regis were shot in Austin's Driskill Hotel; the pageant scenes were shot at the Bass Concert Hall at the University of Texas at Austin; and scenes depicting the pageant contestants in their hotel rooms were shot in the Omni Austin at South Park.
Box office and reception
The film was the fifth highest grossing film in North America on its opening weekend, making $13,853,686 USD; it had a 5% increase in earnings the following week—enough to make the film reach #3; and overall it was a box office hit, grossing more than $106 million in the United States, and more than $212.7 million worldwide. It was nominated for several awards, including two Golden Globes: Sandra Bullock earned a nod for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical, and Bosson's "One in a Million" was nominated for Best Original Song in a Motion Picture. The film has a 42% rating at Rotten Tomatoes and a metascore of 43 at Metacritic, signifying mixed or average reviews.
The film's first DVD edition, released in 2001, included two audio commentaries, some deleted scenes, the theatrical trailer, and two documentaries about the making of the film. A deluxe-edition DVD, released in In 2005, featured different cover art for the DVD and menu. It contained the same features as the other DVD version plus a quiz hosted by William Shatner and a sneak peek at the upcoming sequel. In 2009, a double DVD edition was released that included the sequel, Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous.
A sequel, Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous, was released on March 24, 2005. The film starred Sandra Bullock, Regina King, Enrique Murciano, William Shatner, Ernie Hudson, Heather Burns, Diedrich Bader, and Treat Williams. The sequel was less successful, critically  and commercially, earning only $101,393,569.
|Released||December 22, 2000|
|Label||Capitol TVT Soundtrax|
- "One in a Million" - Bosson (3:30)
- "If Everybody Looked the Same" - Groove Armada (3:40)
- "She's a Lady (The BT Remix)" - Tom Jones (4:21)
- "Anywhere USA" - P.Y.T (4:06)
- "Dancing Queen" - A*Teens (3:50)
- "Let's Get It On" - Red Venom (3:26)
- "Get Ya Party On" - Baha Men (3:20)
- "None of Your Business" - Salt 'N' Pepa (3:34)
- "Mustang Sally" - Los Lobos (4:59)
- "Bullets" - Bob Schneider (4:25)
- "Liquored Up and Lacquered Down" - Southern Culture on the Skids (2:26)
- "Miss United States (Berman Brothers Mix)" - William Shatner (3:38)
- "One in a Million (Bostrom Mix)" - Bosson (3:33)
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- Miss Congeniality at the Internet Movie Database
- Miss Congeniality at the TCM Movie Database
- Miss Congeniality at AllMovie
- Miss Congeniality at Box Office Mojo
- Miss Congeniality at Rotten Tomatoes