Sandra Bullock cements her status as the female Brendan Fraser with a goony, half-effective slapstick performance in this weird cross-pollination of Pygmalion
and cheesecake. Bullock plays a butch FBI agent who has to get a makeover and penetrate the ranks of the Miss United States beauty pageant in order to catch a mad bomber. While this is perhaps a promising setup for a hardcore porn film, director Donald Petrie decides to play it toward the more profitable side of the X rating, resulting in a bunch of lingering shots of jogbras and a pratfall where every torrid girl-girl scene should have gone. Miss Congeniality
might be a good one for narcoleptics, if they can manage to sleep through the film's irritatingly unfocused first hour and wake up in time for the climactic pageant sequence. Good-natured and satirical without the sneering excesses that ruined the similarly aimed Drop Dead Gorgeous, it's easily the film's highlight; the problem is that it comes far too late for anyone to care.