Trying to fall in love with film again.

Even though 'Miss Congeniality 2' has it's moments, it feels like a caricature of the first one


Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous (2005) - IMDbStory

Three weeks after she saved the 'Miss America' pageant from a bombing, Gracie Hart is back in the field and her newfound celebrity is causing problems. After a failed attempt to stop a bank robbery, the FBI decides to capitalize on her found fame and make her the face of the FBI.

After 10 months Gracie gets a message that two of her friends including Cheryl Fraser, winner of the Miss America pageant has been kidnapped, Gracie goes undercover with another agent Sam Fuller,  to solve the case to save her friends

This a very good example of sequelitis, where the sequel tries to be better than the first but isn't. The story for this film and its predecessor are very different, the first movie was a rom-com but this is more of a buddy-cop movie and that isn't a bad thing. A lot of times having a sequel go in a different direction is a good thing, a very good example of that is Captain America: The Winter Soldier but here the movie misses the mark.

Acting

There are only 4 actors that returned from the first movie and you really miss the actors who didn't return, especially Michael Caine and Benjamin Bratt who have some of the funniest and most heartfelt moments in the first movie.

As I was writing this review, I saw another review that said Sandra Bullock saved this movie and for the most part I agree with that sentiment, she's one of the better elements of the film. However, her character in the first movie and this one are very very different, almost like two different people. She becomes what she despised so much in the first movie. The one line that sums up her change comes from the first act where she says "Be careful, my guns are in that Fendi!" I rolled my eyes at that line because it's extremely superficial and very unlike her character. Her change is addressed in the movie but the criticism only occurs at face value. Her character in this movie is still likeable and funny, but not as much as the first movie.

Regina King is the best part of this movie, she's a more extreme version of Gracie from the first movie, and I can see where the writers were going with this as Sam Fuller (her character) is at odds with what Gracie has become. Regina King and Sandra Bullock have chemistry and their best moments are those when they're at odds with one another, it's very entertaining watching them go back and forth.

The supporting characters range from insignificant to annoying. The character that's meant to replace Michael Caine is one of the characters that falls into the annoying category, it's very clear that Deidrich Bayer is over-acting and it gets very aggravating very fast. William Shatner's Stan Fields is an example of a character that works but only in small doses. Although he isn't in the film much the scenes he is in drag and they feel much longer than normal. William Shatner also seems like he's phoning it in a little. It has to mentioned that Nick 'Ron Swanson' Offerman is in this movie, he's the antagonist of the movie and is mediocre at best, his characters' motivations make sense but are quite laughable which was entertaining at times but for the most part, he's pretty forgettable.

Writing/Direction

The writing and direction in this movie is nothing special, the director of the first one didn't return but there's no difference in the directing style so it's not something you would notice unless you looked it up.  The story is stretched very thin in this movie, and it also affects the pacing. This movie clocks in at just under 2 hours and you feel every single minute of it. A lot of the jokes don't land and moments that are supposed to be funny come across as awkward and forced.

The writing feels like a by-product of the early 2000s from the way the character interact with each other, to the way their lines were written and delivered. The dialogue in this movie is too on the nose and lacks some of the more subtle jokes and nuance that the first film had.

It also has to be mentioned that I hate the title of this movie. 'Armed and Fabulous' is actually a line from the movie but it sounds ridiculous and I don't know why anyone thought it sounded good enough to the subtitle of the movie.

Overall Thoughts

Overall this movie feels more hollow than the first one, that movie didn't take itself too seriously and knew exactly what it was. Almost everything in this movie feels like a caricature of the first one. In all honesty, watching this film felt like a chore which is never a good thing. It's hard to look at this movie without comparing it the original but it's do-able. On its own, this movie doesn't have a lot of merits. The story and characters are very thin and one-dimensional and the acting leaves something to be desired. It does have likeable leads but that's pretty much all it has going for it. All in all this movie has not aged well and if you want to watch a Miss Congeniality movie, you're better off watching the first one.

You can read my review for the first movie here

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