When a dangerous criminal threatens the Miss United States Pageant, the answer is simple: send in an undercover agent as a contestant. Special Agent Gracie Hart (Bullock) is the woman for the job. Unfortunately she is a socially inept frump with no glamour whatsoever. Enter Victor Melling (Michael Caine) as a beauty consultant with a mission to transform Gracie into the ideal contestant.
If you're expecting action and comedy, you'll find this film has little of either. Sandra Bullock doesn't get to do very much other than bond with her fellow contestants and re-introduce pizza into their lives. She does some detecting, almost as an afterthought, and engages in half-hearted flirting with oily boss Eric Matthews (played by Benjamin Bratt) - and that's about it.
The film briefly shows signs of life when Michael Caine is introduced. His relationship with Bullock is the only one in the film that displays any chemistry and unfortunately he is criminally under-used.
"Miss Congeniality" cannot decide what kind of film it wants to be. There's not enough comedy for a comedy (several opportunities for razor-sharp swipes at the fashion industry are wasted), nor is there enough action for an action film. It does a fair job in the final reel, when the film makers remember they have a threat to address, but the climax is too little, too late.
Read the Newsnight review.