Movie Review: Miss Congeniality

Miss Congeniality Trailer

Miss Congeniality Summary

In 1982, a very young Gracie Hart steps into a playground fight to beat up a bully who is threatening a boy she likes. However, the boy feels humiliated at being rescued “by a girl”, and rejects her rudely, whereupon she punches him in the nose and leaves to sulk alone. Years later, Gracie is now a tough Special Agent for the FBI. During a sting operation against Russian mobsters, she disobeys her superior’s orders in order to save a mob boss who appears to be choking, which causes one of the other agents to be shot. She is demoted to a desk job as punishment.

Soon after, the agency is alerted, via a letter from the notorious domestic terrorist known only as “The Citizen”, to a bomb threat at the upcoming 75th annual Miss United States beauty pageant in San Antonio, Texas. Gracie’s partner Eric Matthews is put in charge, and he relies on Gracie’s suggestions, but he takes credit for them himself. One of Gracie’s ideas is to plant an agent undercover at the event. When all possible candidates are deemed unfit, Eric then suggests that Gracie take on that role, replacing Miss New Jersey, who was to be disqualified. Beauty pageant coach Victor Melling teaches Gracie how to dress, walk, and behave like a contestant. Though initially appalled, she comes to appreciate Victor’s thoroughness. Gracie enters the pageant as “Gracie Lou Freebush”, representing New Jersey, and becomes friends with Cheryl Frasier, who is Miss Rhode Island. As the competition begins, Gracie impresses the judges during the talent competition with her glass harp skills and self-defense techniques.

Several suspects are identified, including the current competition director and former pageant winner Kathy Morningside, her assistant Frank Tobin, the veteran MC Stan Fields, and Cheryl, who has a history of being a radical animal rights activist. Gracie accompanies Cheryl and other contestants as they spend a night partying, where Gracie tries to dig into Cheryl’s past, but inadvertently learns from the others that Kathy’s past as a pageant contestant is suspect, including the fact that she won after the leading contestant suddenly came down with food poisoning. Gracie comes to believe Kathy is a “Citizen” copycat. When Gracie reports this to Eric and the team, she learns that “The Citizen” has been arrested on an unrelated charge, and because there is no further threat, their supervisor has pulled the mission. Gracie insists that she suspects something is wrong, and Eric returns to Texas to help her continue the investigation against orders.

In the final round, Gracie is stunned when she is named first runner-up. Cheryl is named Miss United States, but as she goes to accept the tiara, Gracie realizes that Frank, who is actually Kathy’s son, impersonated “The Citizen” to make the pageant bomb threat. She throws the tiara up at the stage scenery, where it explodes and sets the stage on fire. As Kathy and Frank are arrested, Gracie determines that the two wanted to kill the pageant winner on stage as revenge for Kathy’s termination from the Miss United States organization. As the event closes down and Gracie and Eric prepare to return to headquarters with a new-found interest in each other, the other contestants name Gracie “Miss Congeniality”.

Miss Congeniality Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A fun movie following a clumsy FBI agent who has an amazing transformation while taking down a huge operation. A must see.

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