Miss Congeniality (film)

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Miss Congeniality
Theatrical poster of a woman in a dress holding roses and an American Flag
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDonald Petrie
Produced bySandra Bullock
Written byMarc Lawrence
Katie Ford
Caryn Lucas
StarringSandra Bullock
Michael Caine
Benjamin Bratt
William Shatner
Ernie Hudson
Candice Bergen
Music byEdward Shearmur
CinematographyLászló Kovács
Edited byBilly Weber
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
(United States)
Roadshow Entertainment (Australia & New Zealand)[1]
Release date
  • December 22, 2000 (2000-12-22)
Running time
110 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$45 million[2]
Box office$212.8 million[2]

Miss Congeniality is a 2000 American action comedy film directed by Donald Petrie, written by Marc Lawrence, Katie Ford, and Caryn Lucas, and starring Sandra Bullock with Michael Caine, Benjamin Bratt, William Shatner, Ernie Hudson, and Candice Bergen.

Miss Congeniality was released by Warner Bros. Pictures on December 22, 2000 and was a box office hit grossing $212 million worldwide. Bullock also garnered a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical. A sequel, Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous, was released in March 24, 2005.


In 1982, a very young Gracie Hart steps into a playground fight to beat up a bully who is threatening a boy she likes. However, the boy feels humiliated at being rescued "by a girl", and rejects her rudely, whereupon she punches him in the nose and leaves to sulk alone. Years later, Gracie is now a tough Special Agent for the FBI. During a sting operation against Russian mobsters, she disobeys her superior's orders in order to save a mob boss who appears to be choking, which causes one of the other agents to be shot. She is demoted to a desk job as punishment.

Soon after, the agency is alerted, via a letter from the notorious domestic terrorist known only as "The Citizen", to a bomb threat at the upcoming 75th annual Miss United States beauty pageant in San Antonio, Texas. Gracie's partner Eric Matthews is put in charge, and he relies on Gracie's suggestions, but he takes credit for them himself. One of Gracie's ideas is to plant an agent undercover at the event. Eric then suggests that Gracie take on that role, replacing Miss New Jersey, who was just disqualified. Beauty pageant coach Victor Melling teaches Gracie how to dress, walk, and behave like a contestant. Though initially appalled, she comes to appreciate Victor's thoroughness. Gracie enters the pageant as "Gracie Lou Freebush", representing New Jersey, and becomes friends with Cheryl Frasier, who is Miss Rhode Island. As the competition begins, Gracie impresses the judges during the talent competition with her glass harp skills and self-defense techniques.

Several suspects are identified, including the current competition director and former pageant winner Kathy Morningside, her assistant Frank Tobin, the veteran MC Stan Fields, and Cheryl, who has a history of being a radical animal rights activist. Gracie accompanies Cheryl and other contestants as they spend a night partying, where Gracie tries to dig into Cheryl's past, but inadvertently learns from the others that Kathy's past as a pageant contestant is suspect, including the fact that she won after the leading contestant suddenly came down with food poisoning. Gracie comes to believe Kathy is a "Citizen" copycat. However, when Gracie reports this to Eric and the team, she learns that "The Citizen" has been arrested on an unrelated charge, and because there is no further threat, their supervisor has pulled the mission. Gracie insists that she suspects something is wrong, and Eric returns to Texas to help her continue the investigation against orders.

In the final round, Gracie is stunned when she is named first runner up. Cheryl is named Miss United States, but as she goes to accept the tiara, Gracie realizes that Frank, who is actually Kathy's son, impersonated "The Citizen" to make the pageant bomb threat. Suspecting foul play, she stops the crowning ceremony in time, and the tiara, rigged with a bomb, explodes in the stage scenery. As Kathy and Frank are arrested, Gracie determines that the two wanted to kill the pageant winner on stage as revenge for Kathy's termination from the Miss United States organization. As the event closes down and Gracie and Eric prepare to return to headquarters with a newfound interest in each other, the other contestants name Gracie as "Miss Congeniality".




Ellen DeGeneres claims that the writer was inspired to when watching her training to walk in high heels and a dress in preparation for the Oscars. [3]


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.[4]

Box office and reception[edit]

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[5] and a metascore of 43 at Metacritic,[6] mixed to poor reviews. The New York Times described it as "a standard-issue fish-out-of-water comedy" which "seems happily, deliberately second-rate, as if its ideal audience consisted of weary airline passengers".[7]

Home media[edit]

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.[8]A deluxe-edition DVD, released 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.[9][10] In 2009, a double DVD edition was released that included the sequel, Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous.[11]


A sequel, Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous, was released on March 24, 2005.[12] 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 both critically[13] and commercially, earning only $101,393,569.[12]


Miss Congeniality
Soundtrack album
ReleasedDecember 22, 2000
GenreFilm soundtrack
LabelCapitol TVT Soundtrax
  1. "One in a Million" - Bosson (3:30)
  2. "If Everybody Looked the Same" - Groove Armada (3:40)
  3. "She's a Lady (The BT Remix)" - Tom Jones (4:21)
  4. "Anywhere USA" - P.Y.T. (4:06)
  5. "Dancing Queen" - A-Teens (3:50)
  6. "Let's Get It On" - Red Venom (3:26)
  7. "Get Ya Party On" - Baha Men (3:20)
  8. "None of Your Business" - Salt 'N' Pepa (3:34)
  9. "Mustang Sally" - Los Lobos (4:59)
  10. "Bullets" - Bob Schneider (4:25)
  11. "Liquored Up and Lacquered Down" - Southern Culture on the Skids (2:26)
  12. "Miss United States (Berman Brothers Mix)" - William Shatner (3:38)
  13. "One in a Million (Bostrom Mix)" - Bosson (3:33)


  1. ^ "Film Distribution - Village Roadshow Limited". Village Roadshow Pictures. 2014-02-11. Archived from the original on February 25, 2014. Retrieved 2014-02-11.
  2. ^ a b "Miss Congeniality (2000)". Box Office Mojo. 2001-04-29. Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  3. ^ "Oscar Host Ellen DeGeneres: Why I Love the Movies". Parade. 28 February 2014.
  4. ^ "Miss Congeniality - Filming Locations". imdb. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  5. ^ "Miss Congeniality (2000) - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  6. ^ "Miss Congeniality Reviews". Metacritic. 2000-12-22. Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  7. ^ A. O. Scott (2000-12-22). "Movie Review - Miss Congeniality - FILM REVIEW; Operation Ugly Duckling: Fighting Terrorism in Heels". NYTimes.com. Retrieved 2016-03-13.
  8. ^ "Review:Miss Congeniality (US - DVD R1)". dvdactive. Retrieved 2017-05-22.
  9. ^ "Miss Congeniality: Deluxe Edition DVD (2001)". BBC. 2005-03-21. Retrieved 2017-05-22.
  10. ^ "Miss Congeniality: SE (UK - DVD R2)". dvdactive. Retrieved 2017-05-22.
  11. ^ "Miss Congeniality". Worldcat.org. Retrieved 2017-05-22.
  12. ^ a b "Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous (2005)". Box Office Mojo. 2005-07-07. Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  13. ^ "Miss Congeniality 2 - Armed and Fabulous (2005) - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2016-09-24.

External links[edit]