What?! Gracie Hart is back! After the exploits of the first film Agent Hart is too famous for field work. However, when her friends Stan Fields and Miss United States are kidnapped in Las Vegas, Gracie hears the call of duty. Can she save the girl (and make some lifelong pals along the way) before it’s too late? Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous!
Why?! After watching the first film (where Gracie stops a terrorist threat live on national television) I immediately thought, “how in the world did they make a sequel to this film?” I couldn’t figure how Gracie Hart could make it back into the field as an agent. She would be super famous. Lo and behold the screenwriters thought the same thing and wrote in a plot where Gracie had shifted to a PR role within the FBI due to her fame. In the end, though, the motivation for getting back into the field (the kidnapping of her friends) is so great that she can’t help but do it. The motivation for the kidnapping itself is obscured throughout the film to the point where a viewer may not pick up on (or even really care) what it actually is. Turns out that Stan Fields has a gambling problem and got himself in deep with the Vegas mob. The mob decides to kidnap Fields so they can get a ransom for him and pay off his debts.
How?! The mobster hires a couple of loan shark thugs (with a background in Vegas showmanship) to kidnap Fields so he can extort payment via ransom. When the thugs accidentally grab the reigning Miss United States in the process they realize that the amount of money for the kidnapping is too good to give up to the mobster so they take the hostages themselves and proceed to fuck it all up through incompetence. Seriously, after they strike out on their own, the plan starts to make no sense. They send a couple of half-assed ransom videos, give up immediately, and decide to kill their hostages at Treasure Island on the strip (a place that apparently did the kidnappers wrong in the past). Not sure what the killing of the hostages actually gains for the baddies. Like… you didn’t get any money. All you seem to get is some vengeance on Treasure Island. It’s bizarre. And yet they go about it with absolute glee.
Who?! Diedrich Bader is the obvious Planchet here (although his role might be a bit too big for a true Planchet). He was the extra flamboyant replacement for the medium flamboyant Michael Caine of the first film with jokes and jokes and jokes to spare. His most offensive was when the FBI told him that he had to give up the location of Gracie Hart (who had gone rouge) or else he’d go to jail for obstruction. To which he paused and then replied, “which jail?”… as if there was a jail that his character would be OK with because he’s gay. Weird and wild stuff.
Where?! Vegas, baby! It would have been a load of fun for us to have watched this a couple weeks ago before we went to Vegas ourselves. We stayed right across the street from Treasure Island! We could have gone on a Miss Congeniality 2 tour around the strip. Sigh. A shame. Also a pretty nice, but short, opening in New Jersey/New York. B+.
When?! This is kind of a hard one. We immediately get a relative time frame compared to the first film as right before the kidnapping we are told that Miss United States is about to give up her crown, setting the events of this film at almost exactly one year after the first. However, neither the first or second film actually have a specific date. There is a scene in the second film where a character is reading a January 2004 Time Out New York magazine, but that doesn’t totally jive with the first film in which we see the twin towers (along with other evidence that sets the film somewhere in 1999-2000). Soooooooo, I guess it just sucks. C-.
‘Ello everyone! Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous?! More like Miss Congeniality Dog Poo Right in my Face! We watched a sequel to what seemed like an unsequelizable film, what could possible go wrong? Dog poo in my face, that is what could go wrong! Let’s get into it:
- The Good – It is genuinely shocking they made a legitimate sequel to a movie that seemed like it couldn’t have a sequel. How they went about it was genuinely impressive. I liked Nick Offerman’s character (although I think there was more they could have done with him, see below).
- The Bad – The movie might as well not have a script. There are scenes where Shatner is literally sitting there waiting for Bullock to tell him what to do, as if he has no written lines. The back half is a complete mess. The relationship between Bullock and King is grating and they should have dumped the project the instant Bratt didn’t want to return. Speaking of which: Bratt has an incredible break-up-over-the-phone scene eliminating his character from the series without having to pay him a dime! All characters in Las Vegas were completely useless and could have been cut. Let’s bring back a classic since I’m learning French at work: Chien caca dans mon visage.
- The BMT – Oh yeah. I would give this a solid 50-60 suffering only because it is kind of boring. I’m willing to bet if you watched this film 100 times you would slowly go crazy and be convinced it is brilliant. There is just so many bad things to unpack. Are you ready for the challenge Jamie?
And finally a little Sklogification: Basically the one easily fixable flaw in the film I think is that there is an entire storyline by which it is revealed that Shatner’s limo driver was paid by a Dolly Parton drag queen to park away from the curb to allow the kidnapping. Now I was convinced it was going to be Nick Offerman’s character in drag. He was always talking about his Vegas show that was cancelled and that is why he had to pursue a life of crime. What a twist it could have been to have him and his brother be part of a drag queen act and the entire plot being part of their revenge on the casino that spurned them? Already a little bit better, and it makes sense as to why the other FBI agents couldn’t crack the case, they were incorrectly looking for a woman accomplice!. I would have written: “Nice twist, even though I predicted it” in my notes, but alas. I would also consider a third film starring Benjamin Bratt (no Bullock as well) … by the way, his character moved to Miami. I like to think that he then “broke bad” and morphed into the villain in Ride Along 2. Unexpected Sequel!