Special note: Now available on the Netflix video streaming service.
Bullock anchors this entertaining showcase as the smart, no-nonsense FBI agent Gracie Hart who finds herself involved in a special mission to uncover a terrorist plot at the United States Beauty Pageant. Benjamin Bratt (TV’s Law & Order, Private Practice) also stars as Eric Matthews who has a basic friendship with Gracie as her FBI colleague.
Outgoing pageant hosts Stan Fields and Kathy Morningside, played by William Shatner and Candice Bergen, reluctantly cooperate with the FBI’s plan to put Gracie into the televised competition as Miss New Jersey with the help of a washed up pageant contestant expert named Victor Melling, well played by Michael Caine. Heather Burns (You’ve Got Mail, Manchester by the Sea) has a star making role as Cheryl (a.k.a. Miss Rhode Island) who mainly provides a bridge between Gracie and the new world of beauty pageants.
The title describes the focus of the movie well as Bullock displays the same type of appealing screen magic that Julia Roberts did in Pretty Woman. Her persona keeps the movie above average and boosts the audience’s involvement in the story as she transforms from tough sarcastic loner to a soft emotional socialite.
Director Donald Petrie (Grumpy Old Men, Mystic Pizza) and his crew show a few serious issues in this average story, but they don’t really stick, so it would’ve been better to leave them out all together, even though these issues do provide some realism of the movie. Bullock carries this movie to a solid standing, ”Recommended (*** out of four stars) with reservations and rated PG-13 for for sexual references and a scene of violence.
Copyright © Michael Siebenaler