Ron Batzdorff
EW Staff
November 14, 2000 AT 05:00 AM EST

Miss Congeniality

Current Status
In Season
109 minutes
Wide Release Date
Sandra Bullock, Candice Bergen, Benjamin Bratt, Michael Caine, William Shatner
Donald Petrie
Castle Rock Productions, Fortis Films, Village Roadshow
Warner Bros.
Katie Ford, Marc Lawrence
Comedy, ActionAdventure

We gave it a C+

”Male comedians are able to do physical comedy, but I don’t think anyone wants to see a woman doing that,” says producer/ star Sandra Bullock. ”I’d love to bridge that gap a little bit.” Exhibit A: ”Miss Congeniality,” in which a tomboy FBI agent (Bullock) poses as a beauty pageant contestant to thwart a bomb threat. ”Sandy’s got a lot of Lucille Ball in her,” says coexec producer and cowriter Marc Lawrence. But no one was laughing when director Hugh Wilson (”The First Wives Club”) dropped out shortly before filming was to begin. ”It’s certainly unnerving,” says Lawrence. ”We were in preproduction — stuff was being built. At a certain point you say, ‘Are we talking about the same movie?’ If the answer is no, it doesn’t benefit anybody to keep riding that train.”

Within a week Donald Petrie (”Grumpy Old Men”) had come aboard, and now the film’s only tension is over what the lead character will do in the pageant’s talent competition. ”That’s the big thing,” says Bullock, ”since she has no talent whatsoever.” We won’t spoil it, but let’s just say her ”talent” is as dubious as it is embarrassing. ”That was humiliating,” she says of filming the scene outdoors in front of the Alamo. ”With everyone who’s touring the Alamo that season, I’m in some Bavarian tutu going, ‘Okay, I just single handedly finished off the rest of my career.”’ GOOD SIGN We love Lucy too. And if anyone can resuscitate her brand of humor, it’s Bullock. THEN AGAIN The last wacky comedy she produced and starred in was ”Gun Shy.”

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