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By Chris Gore | December 18, 2000

Gracie has been a tomboy since she was a kid. We know this because in the opening scene we see the eight year-old Gracie bully some boys on the playground. This is probably the jillionth time a film has begun showing the lead character as a child then — cut to — we see that same character as an adult with the same lovable trait. Wow. That’s original. Not off to a very good start. Okay, so then we see the grown up version of the kid, FBI agent Gracie Hart (Sandra Bullock) is as tough-as-nails in the field as she was on the playground. She busts some Russian mobsters but doesn’t quite follow orders leading to one agent getting shot. The downed agent is okay, but Gracie is demoted and gets an earful from her boss played by Ernie Hudson. This marks perhaps the 13,000th scene in which a superior chews out a subordinate agent/cop/whatever in a movie.
When a terrorist sends a letter to the bureau, agent Eric Matthews (Benjamin Bratt) is put in charge of the operation to thwart the bad guy. Of course, the only one who knows what’s really going on is Gracie who figures out that the target of the terrorist is the Miss United States Pageant. She has to stop a terrorist from blowing up a bunch of models at the pageant and goes undercover as a model named Gracie Lou Freebush. That’s “Free Bush,” just in case you missed the subtle humor. “Free Bush” is kind of fun to say. Anyway, Victor Melling (Michæl Caine) is brought in as a consultant to turn Gracie from a unkempt tomboy into a potential supermodel. I have to admit, Sandra Bullock as a tomboy is actually kind of hot, but when they give her makeover that makes her look like a porn star… wow! Where can I rent that video?! Too bad, the porn version would be a lot more interesting than this cliché flick. Basically, this is like a really bad film from the eighties, that seems to be remade with Sandra Bullock digitally grafted onto the horrible plot. William Shatner continues his schtick but the worst has to be Candance Bergen who embarrasses herself as the main villain who schemes to blow up the models. (Hope I didn’t give anything away. Ah, who cares? Like you couldn’t have figured it out in about five seconds.) Candace, what were you thinking? “Miss Congeniality” is cute, it’s perky, and it’s best viewed when it comes to cable.

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