Sandra Bullock never really did it for me. I enjoyed her in “Speed” and “Demolition Man” but a film with her in the lead I’d usually avoid if I could as most had, well basically boring premises. Sadly I ended up having to watch a lot of them and find myself thinking the same thing – these are watchable movies, but that’s about it. That said this one I had better hopes for after hearing the casting and then later enjoying the trailer – and I wasn’t let down.
This is easily her best comedy yet – there’s a good story, interesting characters plaid by a variety of solid actors, and some good laughs. Its a studio movie and thus is pretty much on the ‘safe’ side of the comedy fence, but it still is actually quite funny at times and always remembers its a comedy first and foremost. There’s a thriller sub-plot involving a terrorist with a bomb that’s not only conventional but kind of spoiled earlier than it should’ve been, but its necessary to the plot and is essential for the great climax.
The performances are good all across the board with Bullock doing a performance a little different than usual but making good use of her talent ranging from physical comedy to some nice word jabs. Michael Caine as the elitist yet disgraced beauty consultant comes in a close second doing his eccentric supporting performance style he’s known for.
Bratt is surprisingly quite impressive as the love interest/buddy and is more ‘natural’ in the role than one might expect. Sadly Bergen and Shatner aren’t stuck with as interesting roles as they should’ve had but do well with what little they’ve got. The original premise I hear had Shatner’s character drown his sorrows of this being his last pageant just before the big event and thus making a fool of himself on stage – that would’ve been great.
The contestant girls are solid all round. The film’s running time is a little longer than standard but it never feels slow or too long, and even the slightly cheesy ending is nice. I really quite enjoyed this and it deserves to be doing a lot better than the disappointing “What Women Want”. This is one Bullock movie that’s no bull – fresh, funny and enjoyable by all.