Miss Congeniality 2

Miss Congeniality 2 (2005)
Warner Home Video
Cast: Sandra Bullock, William Shatner, Regina King, Treat Williams
Extras: Deleted Scenes, Theatrical Trailer

It’s been a bit quiet around Sandra Bullock lately but now Warner Home Video is bringing us "Miss Congeniality 2" to make up for it. Following up on the success of her 2000 action comedy hit, "Miss Congeniality," this time Sandra exchanges the runway with Las Vegas, which is, of course, no less glamorous.

After having gained all the notoriety in "Miss Congeniality" Gracie Hart (Sandra Bullock) now has a big problem as an FBI agent. Everyone knows her – and that rules out field work for her. But instead of making her a paper-pusher the FBI decides to turn Gracie Hart into their public face, turning the spotlight on her, sending her on PR campaigns and press junkets and virtually turn her into a glamour star the nation loves.
But when her friend Miss America (Cheryl Burns) and Stan Fields (William Shatner) are kidnapped in Las Vegas, Gracie can’t just sit back, smile and wait, especially since the chief of the Las Vegas FBI headquarter (Treat Williams) doesn’t seem to have a grip on things. So against all orders, she goes out, does her thing and tries top unravel this strange kidnapping case.

While a few characters return for this sequel, "Miss Congeniality 2" mostly has to re-invent itself. As a result the movie has a completely different feel than the original film. Gracie has turned from a complete tomboy to a glamour girl all the way through. Even in her moments of total regression she never comes across as handicapped as the character originally was. Since this was part of the appeal of the first movie, I can see that some viewers find this detrimental to the movie.
Also, instead of having her be the lone cowboy working undercover, this time the film features a lot of buddy-movie elements by bringing in agent Sam Fuller (Regina King) as Gracie’s bodyguard. First they hate each other’s guts then they learn to respect each other and eventually become friends as they save each other’s lives. Not exactly original, but it works.

I found "Miss Congenialty 2" to be an entertaining popcorn film. It is funny, though on a different level than the original, and it took the premise of Gracie Hart one step further, deliberately and successfully trying not to do the exact same thing again. Gracie has developed into a different person – naturally – and we get to see her trying to fill those shoes. The Las Vegas back drop is a nice setting for the movie with its razzle-dazzle locales and colorful population, allowing from some nice moments.

Warner Home Video presents the movie in a picture perfect transfer on this DVD. Framed at its original 2.35:1 <$PS,widescreen> aspect ratio, the image is clean and without blemishes or speckles. A <$PS,fullframe> version that is presumably cropped is also available for those who have use for such a thing. The level of detail is superb, bringing out every little bit of definition in the image and the backdrops. Color reproduction is also flawless rendering the colorful interiors with vibrant hues that are never oversaturated, while also keeping the earthy sand tones of the desert, perfectly in check. Skin tones are always natural looking, further helping to give the transfer an balanced look. Creating deep shadows that never break up, the black levels on the release are also without flaws, always making sure the image is firmly rooted and has lots of visual depth. No edge-enhancement distracts form the presentation and the compression is free of artifacts.

The audio mix on the DVD is presented as a full-bodied <$5.1,5.1 channel> <$DD,Dolby Digital> track. Making aggressive use of the surround channels throughout, the track is dynamic and perfectly fits the movie. Whether ambient sound effects are coming in from the surround channels to create a wide spatial field, or whether it’s used more aggressively for effects purposes, the track always engages all channels for full effect. The bass extension is deep with a natural sounding roll-off and high ends are always clear and without distortion. Dialogues are well integrated and never drowned out.

As extras the release contains a selection of deleted scenes running for 12 minutes, which are of varying quality. Also included is the movie’s theatrical trailer.

Whether you like this movie, or despise it, certainly depends on your expectations. I had a lot of fun watching it, and for some amusing 115 minutes of action comedy "Miss Congeniality 2" certainly fit the bill.