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Miss Congeniality 2 Is Neither Armed Nor Fabulous

   By: Tamika Johnson

Well, it’s not awful. And that is the best I can say for Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous, the sequel to the surprise hit of 2000 Ms. Congeniality. Sandra Bullock reprises her role as Gracie Hart, the bumbling FBI agent who is skilled as an agent but woefully inept socially. Picking up three weeks after the last movie, Hart is somewhat forced into being the face of the FBI because she is no longer able to be an undercover agent due to her new found celebrity. With the help of a new stylist Hart is turned into a glamour girl who is more adept with a lip pencil then a fire arm. Problems arise when her friends from the first movie, Ms. United States (Heather Burns) and Stan Fields (William Shatner) are kidnapped and held for ransom.

The problem is that many of the hijinks and jokes in the film are ones we have seen time and time again. There are multiple costume changes: Bullock in her sassy “I’m the face of the FBI” outfits and a not so funny sequence in a drag club where Bullock and Regina King (Ray, Jerry McGuire) are pretending to be men, pretending to be women and forced to sing karaoke, are just a couple the movie has to offer. And how often have we seen the gay stylist, who of course is the only person who could possibly understand any of the women in the film. Can we say overused stereotype? Can we say so not funny? Can we say give me a break?

Speaking of King, who is a very talented actress, she does a horrible job playing the tough, attitude having, angry at the world FBI agent who is assigned to protect Hart as she goes to Vegas to try and save her friends. I mean if you’ve ever watched America’s Next Top Model or the Apprentice you’ve seen enough of the “black woman with an attitude” that it doesn’t need to play out on the big screen. Also their ebony and ivory routine is supposed to be funny and ultimately enlightening but instead comes across as hackneyed and another way to perpetuate long held stereotypes of blacks and whites.

The movie wasn’t all bad. There are some funny moments here and there thanks to Shatner who really should have had more lines. And the movie’s soundtrack is excellent. Whoever chose the music has a strong love for seventies funk and early eighties R&B. I was bobbing my head through the entire film and was happy to stay to see the credits roll because I was able to hear a favorite tune of mine that I hadn’t heard in awhile.

Ultimately the problem with sequels, particularly comedy sequels is that they either do one of two things: they try so hard to make a better movie then the original that they over reach and forget why the first movie was a success or they try so closely to emulate the first movie that the laughs they go for the second time around just seem too contrived and/or forced to be either original or funny. Miss Congeniality 2 falls prey to the latter. In an attempt to be as funny as the first film many of the gags and jokes are overused, overworked, unoriginal and just fall flat. Don’t bother going to the theatre to see Miss Congeniality 2. Just wait until it comes out on cable.

© 2005 Tamika Johnson


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