Yep, saw this one before, and I was most gratified to see it pop up on Amazon Prime Video. It’s Miss Congeniality, from the year 2000 and released through Warner Brothers. Details are from Wikipedia.
The title role goes to Sandra Bullock as Gracie Hart. Here we see Gracie as a schoolyard girl kicking ass when a bully picks on her favorite fella. She’s not going to outgrow that attitude.
We next see sweet Gracie as a kick-ass FBI field agent, here taking down a gang of Russian mobsters.
But a new crisis develops, else there wouldn’t be a movie. It goes like this. There is a domestic terrorist who calls himself “The Citizen,” and he always telegraphs his next move by sending a cryptic note. Problem is, it’s only after the deed is done that the feds take another look and say, “Yeah, that’s what he was saying all along.” Comes another letter, and Gracie figures out the target is going to be the Miss United States pageant in San Antonio, Texas. FBI intelligence comes to the same conclusion, and a squad of agents prepares to infiltrate the event and catch “The Citizen” before he can cause mayhem.
Needing a beauty queen agent to infiltrate the lineup, they select Gracie as a last resort. It’s likely she does not even own a dress. Some preparation is going to be needed. Washed out makeup specialist Victor Melling (Michael Caine) is contracted to make rough and ready Gracie into a svelte beauty contestant. The FBI requisitions an airplane hanger, and a gang of specialists goes to work on the monumental task.
Success! The hanger doors roll back and the new Gracie struts out. She is hot.
The pageant organizers go along with the scheme, and Gracie begins to learn what it’s like to be one of the girls. Her secret heartthrob is Agent Eric Matthews (Benjamin Bratt), who keeps close tabs on her. Their lips never quite touch.
Meanwhile the terrorist practices his attack. A department store mannequin is set up on a vacant parking lot, and its head is blown to pieces by a remote-controlled bomb. Everything is ready for the big night.
Location filming in San Antonio features familiar places. This is obviously the Arneson River Theater, where I have captured numerous such photos.
Meanwhile, “The Citizen” has been captured. His target was not the pageant, after all, and the FBI crew packs up and leaves. But Gracie is convinced from what she has picked up at the pageant that an attack is planned, aimed to appear to be the work of “The Citizen.” Gracie surrenders her gun and badge and stays behind to complete the competition.
Surprise, surprise! It turns out that pageant director Kathy Morningside is scheduled to be scuttled from the pageant, and she is most vengeful. Eric also learns that Kathy’s son Frank (Steve Monroe) has a violent past and a criminal record. Eric stays behind to back up Gracie. We see Frank substituting the victory crown with another packed with explosives. He plans to blow the head off the winner at the height of the ceremony. Gracie spots Frank preparing to fire the charge remotely.
At the climactic moment, Miss Rhode Island is crowned Miss United States, and Gracie snatches the crown off her head and throws it into the upper reaches, where it explodes, to the astonishment of all.
Their lips finally touch. They practically eat each other’s faces. There’s going to be some heavy necking after the movie.
But first Gracie is called back in to the pageant, where the other contestants crown her Miss Congeniality, hence the title.
Yeah, this is a whole lot smarmy. Nobody gets humped, no bare breasts. And nobody dies. It made $212.8 million at the box office after spending $45 million in production. Not bad.
Take note. We see William Shatner as pageant MC Stan Fields. Beam him up, Scotty!