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Warner Home Video presents
Miss Congeniality: The Deluxe Edition Giftset (2000)

"I'm glad you enjoyed it. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go unscrew my smile!"
- Gracie Hart (Sandra Bullock)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: March 14, 2005

Stars: Sandra Bullock, Michael Caine, Benjamin Bratt, Candice Bergen
Other Stars: William Shatner, Ernie Hudson
Director: Donald Petrie

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for (sexual references, a scene of violence)
Run Time: 01h:50m:06s
Release Date: March 15, 2005
UPC: 012569696600
Genre: comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ B+AA- A-

DVD Review

Sandra Bullock is one of our most beloved actresses today, and her success basically came out of the blue. After very minor parts in late-1980s/early 1990s flicks, her first major exposure in a Hollywood film was as Sylvester Stallone's partner in the sci-fi film, Demolition Man. Then came the film that put her on the A list, Speed. Bullock provided the perfect mix of comic relief and cuteness in a film that was so intense that her appearance made it a crowd favorite and box office success, regardless of the demographic its marketing was targeting.

2000's Miss Congeniality was Sandra Bullock's second biggest moneymaker, taking in just over $100 million at the box office. The film also received above average reviews, mainly due to Bullock's charming and funny performance.

Gracie Hart (Bullock) is a tough-as-nails FBI agent who is the least feminine female cop in the bureau. When a crazy person known as "The Citizen" makes a threat against the Miss United States beauty pageant, Gracie, although the FBI's second choice, has to take the assignment since their first choice is on maternity leave. Not exactly beauty queen material, Gracie is soon under the tutelage of pageant consultant Victor Melling (Michael Caine), who changes her look and attitude completely. Once undercover, the now beautiful Gracie finds herself attracted to fellow agent Matthews (Benjamin Bratt), who now sees her much differently as well.

Miss Congeniality is actually one of the better cutesy comedies of this decade. Usually Sandra Bullock's work rubs me the wrong way, seeming to sacrifice witty comedy for sentimentality, but here, she comes across as thoroughly funny and believable, well within her fish-out-of-water element. She has wonderful chemistry with Benjamin Bratt, and the early scene in which they combat each other is priceless.

The supporting characters are quite engaging and funny as well, with Michael Caine doing a great effeminate fashionista and William Shatner hamming it up (and in self-parody mode) as the pageant's flighty host. The only annoying character is Candice Bergen's pageant organizer, but she does serve her character's purpose, which isn't really her fault.

Miss Congeniality isn't a modern comedy classic by any stretch, but it is an entertaining, funny way to kill a couple of hours. Sandra Bullock's normal girl-next-door charm is kept to a minimum here as well, which is a welcome sight.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation is the same as the one found on the 2001 DVD release of Miss Congeniality. Fortunately, this old transfer is very solid, featuring strong image detail and excellent sharpness, along with a well-rendered color palette. Black and shadow levels are handled nicely, and there are only a few instances where a bit of grain is present.

Image Transfer Grade: A

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
English, Frenchyes


Audio Transfer Review: This old Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track is also very good, making aggressive use of the surrounds, which is a nice surprise for a comedy-heavy action flick. The wide dynamic range results in an enveloping listening experience that features tight bass levels and realistic sound effects and ambient sounds. The funny dialogue is also nicely handled, and blended into the mix quite well.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 33 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
3 Deleted Scenes
3 Featurette(s)
2 Feature/Episode commentaries by 1. Sandra Bullock and Co-Screenwriter Marc Lawrence2. Director Donald Petrie
Packaging: custom cardboard cover with sl
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Do You Have What it Takes to Be a Beauty Queen? Quiz: William Shatner hosts this interactive collection of questions you would have to answer if you were in a beauty pageant.
Extras Review: The major difference between the "giftset" and the basic "deluxe edition" is the inclusion of the Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous original motion picture soundtrack CD. This features some great tracks from the likes of Esthero, Pink, and Patti LaBelle.

The Deluxe Edition DVD features many of the same features from the original 2001 release, including two commentary tracks. The first track features Sandra Bullock and co-screenwriter Marc Lawrence, during which they tell some very funny stories about the production. The second track has director Donald Petrie discussing the making of the film. The first track is the better of the two, mainly due to the nice chemistry between Bullock and Lawrence, who also worked together on the film Forces of Nature.

The original theatrical trailer is here again, as well as two featurettes: Preparing for the Pageant and The Pageant. These are basic EPK pieces, with some nice interviews with the cast and crew, as well as on-set footage.

The "new" extras start with three Additional Scenes, which are interesting, yet definitely should not have been included in the theatrical version. There's also a Sneak Peek at Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous. This nearly eight-minute piece is a nice early look at the upcoming sequel, featuring interviews with Sandra Bullock and other cast members, and a look at the Las Vegas locations.

Do You Have What it Takes to Be a Beauty Queen? Quiz features William Shatner introducing questions that actual beauty pageant contestants have to answer. After answering the questions, Shatner will tell you if you do, indeed, have what it takes to be a beauty queen.

Extras Grade: A-

 

Final Comments

With the theatrical release of Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous on the horizon, Warner Home Video has taken the opportunity to release the Deluxe Edition Giftset. While the audio and video are the same presentations as the previous DVD release of the film, the addition of some deleted scenes and a look at the sequel, along with the inclusion of the sequels soundtrack on CD, make this a worthy double-dip release. If you don't want the soundtrack CD, the new Deluxe Edition DVD is also available separately.

 


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