The Miss Congeniality movies are custom-made for Sandra Bullock's screen career persona. She plays clumsy, nerdy FBI agent Gracie Hart, who is given the horrific pseudonym Gracie Lou Freebush (one example of the movie's juvenile tendencies) when assigned to infiltrate a beauty pageant to investigate threats of a terrorist attack. Transforming Bullock from frumpy geek to stunning contestant was always going to be a piece of cake so the premise for the first Miss Congeniality tale is tenuous at best. More enjoyable is her character's uncouth disdain for pageant contestants and her mistaken perception that they're all a bunch of bimbos. The film nicely charts Gracie's realisation that her own pageant makeover provides a much-needed ego boost, although she gives pageant coach Victor, played by Michael Caine, a run for his money. In addition to Caine's effortless scene-stealing, William Shatner as pageant host and Candice Bergen as the event organiser are smart choices for comedic support, but the movie desperately needs a credible foundation for its comedy to really pay off. Bullock's bureau boss (Benjamin Bratt) is an unconvincing dimwit, and none of the plotting is as smart as, for example, Beverly Hills Cop in combining procedure with laughs. That leaves Bullock to carry the burden of a comedy that barely works in her favour. Only Bullock's fans will appreciate the sequel, Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous. Dumped by her boyfriend (whom Benjamin Bratt wisely decided not to portray this time around), a gloomy Gracie goes along with the promo biz until her friend, Miss United States (Heather Burns), is kidnapped along with Stan Fields (William Shatner) in Las Vegas. Bullock still has enough perk to please her fans, but neither she nor her awkward alter-ego make a success of this sequel to a film released five years earlier.