Roger Ebert professes the theory that you have to judge a movie on its own terms. I'm having trouble getting down to that, finding what the movie is trying to be, because I have quite a few bones to pick with it, but at the same time, I did enjoy watching it at some level.
Sandra Bullock and Benjamin Bratt are FBI agents, and when a letter arrives threatening a beauty pageant, Bullock is called on to go undercover as a contestant.
Is it just a simple-minded comedy? While Bullock can play foul-mouthed and unsophisticated very well, it's too big a stretch to believe the physical transformation they're selling us when it concerns a face as fair and aswell known as Ms. Bullock's.
Is it a message movie about walking a mile in someone's shoes before judging them? There's some evidence for this, but that theme is at best second fiddle to the bumbling and awkward situations presented throughout.
Is it a romantic comedy where Bullock and Bratt go through interesting times and fall in love? No. Simply, no. What we have here is the same token romantic plot from so many action movies where hero and heroine struggle for ninety minutes until one or the other admits an attraction, usually by initiating a kiss or a grope or some such romantic endeavor.
Is it simply a movie designed by committee cynically mixing together familiar elements of previous successes (ugly duckling, good guys versus the bad guys, women in swimsuits and slinky dresses)? While I can't vouch for the committee nor any particular cynicism, there is a mix here. There's no rule that says a movie has to be about anything, but there's a lack of depth that shows up from a lack of conviction. I am left with a feeling that the planning behind the movie consisted solely of a premise, a climactic scene, and working backwards from there. There are way too many logical holes when you move through the movie forwards. And I'll just leave those for you to find as you watch. I did say I enjoyed watching it, so I won't discourage anyone from seeing it. There is just no reason to call it essential viewing.
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