Sequel’s congeniality reserved for title

In the first “Miss Congeniality,” undercover FBI agent Gracie Hart, played by Sandra Bullock, disguises herself as a contestant in the Miss United States pageant. Hart prevents the pageant from becoming a disaster by halting death threats against the competitors using nontraditional but comical techniques.

Hart returns in “Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous” with a sequel that’s filled with wittiness and coupled with lots of action from start to finish.

The sequel begins three weeks after the pageant with Hart back in business solving crimes. The first scene of the movie is an undercover mission to take down bank robbers.

Although Hart goes undercover as wife and mother at the bank with her husband, someone recognizes her as the runner-up for Miss United States. She manages to still get the bank robbers, but not until after her partner is shot and the sting is almost foiled.

Hart’s growing recognition from the pageant begins to interfere with her ability to perform, and she is eventually removed from her position. At the same time, she must cope with personal issues and major career changes.

Once again, Hart must transform from a clumsy law enforcer into a sophisticated representative of the bureau when she is asked to be the new face of the FBI.

The bureau has been getting a lot of negative attention and Hart writes a book and travels across the country discussing the positive aspects of her line of work.

While Hart is reassuring America that the FBI is reliable, she learns that two of her friends, Stan Fields (William Shatner) and Cheryl, Miss United States, played by Heather Burns, have been kidnapped.

Hart and Agent Sam Fuller, played by Regina King, team up with the help of others to find the friends despite the lack of support from many of their colleagues and officials.

The ill-tempered Fuller joins the FBI after being kicked out of several other agencies because of her anger problem. She is not liked by any of the agents, especially Hart.

The cast blends wonderfully and each character is portrayed with expertise. Bullock is joined by several returning co-stars. Shatner, Burns and Ernie Hudson’s characters all appear for a second time.

New co-stars, such as the phenomenal King, added a sense of diversity. Her character, Agent Fuller, depicted an attitude and a demeanor that was the total opposite of any of the other characters.

The sequel offers more action but, at the same time, maintains the same theme and tone as the first movie and most sequels do not do that well. However, the comedic aspect of the movie was not as funny as the prequel and it was a bit too long.

While “Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous” was action-packed, it proves why prequels usually do much better: Sequels don’t always add up to the expectation that they will be better than the first movie.

Grade: B-

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