Sequels in the eyes of the critics are either a hit or miss. Unless it’s really bad, I usually wind up liking the follow-up. Especially if it re-visits the same characters and has a good script.
Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous (2005) Film Review
Only a few months passes since Gracie Hart (Sandra Bullock) competes in the Miss United States pageant and foils a murder plot. Now, she’s happily dating and is in her element back at work in her usual capacity. Unfortunately, for Gracie, both are about to unravel. Following Gracie’s last undercover job done wrong, Eric dumps her, and asks to transfer to another office. This earns Grace a new assignment. Instead of field work, she’ll be working the media circuit, hoping to rally new recruits and give the agency a better name. Things get sticky when, along with another of the pageant officials, Stan Fields (William Shatner), Gracie’s friend and the reigning queen, Cheryl (Heather Burns) is kidnapped.
Now, along with her beauty consultant, Joel, she head to Las Vegas to handle the press. As her protection detail is the bitter and tough, Sam Fuller (Regina King). The two women clash but to help Cheryl, she’s willing to put up with her bad-tempered tag-along.
Seeing this didn’t happen until long after its release, but as I’m a fan of the first film, it’s well worth the wait. Sparkling with equal parts sass and enough mystery to inspire an exciting climax, there isn’t a whole lot to complain about. If you want to be critical, there’s a few petty things that crop up yet the film has terrific humor and a cast to back it up. In all the basic elements, nearly everything stacks up to be the same idea as the previous film. There’s an awkward Gracie and a flawlessly made-up Gracie. Adding more similarity is Cheryl in danger. Helping to shake things up is a location change, new characters (hilariously fun ones at that) and a reasonably decent story.‘Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous’ (2005): Grace Hart Packs her Heels and Returns to the Spotlight #FWarchives #GoodMovies Click To Tweet
Even when this mirrors Miss Congeniality, the story feels like a “fresh” idea because of a surprise turn of events to spice things up. The scene that’s most funny is Sandra dressing up in a Vegas showgirl costume (one that gets plenty of laughs). Or perhaps it belongs to when she transforms into an elderly nursing home patient. Her range to play a variety of new characteristics is a rare talent and if there is one actress comfortable in all this, it’s Sandra Bullock.
Those of you who “overlook” some missteps will enjoy this; it makes us smile, almost by default. If possible this is more of a kick-butt (without being too much a men-are-useless scenario), girl-power movie than its predecessor. Partially this is because this goes without a leading man although the writer’s still weave in some cute romantics. There’s a cute “twist” in the ending about learning to be true to ourselves amidst the many school pressures swirling around. Anyone who enjoyed Sandra in as vintage Gracie Hart will appreciate the sequel. It’s certainly capable of standing on its own but retains the charm and humor of its predecessor.
(This post does contain affiliate links, which means – at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through a link. Read the disclosure page for details.) You can rent or purchase Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous on Amazon Video.
CONTENT: A five-minute scene takes place in a club in which cross-dressers compete as former female celebrities [some innuendo is present]. One character is homosexual [remarks are made about getting other men’s numbers]. Gracie asks her boyfriend [on the phone] if he’s leaving her because of their sex life. For laughs, Gracie pretends to need a tampon. There’s jokes about anatomy and some crude language in addition to commonplace profanity. Violence is more for laughs than “threats.” The film is PG13.