Miss Congeniality (2000)

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Released 29-Aug-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer-Canyon
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
Audio Commentary-Sandra Bullock (Actor) & Marc Lawrence (Screenwriter)
Audio Commentary-Donald Petrie (Director)
Featurette-Preparing for the Pageant
Featurette-The Pageant
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 105:40 (Case: 110)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (44:32) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Donald Petrie
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Sandra Bullock
Michael Caine
Benjamin Bratt
Candice Bergen
William Shatner
Ernie Hudson
Case C-Button-Version 2
RPI $39.95 Music Edward Shearmur


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Miss Congeniality was one of the more successful movies from the earlier half of 2001. I must admit that it was one that I did go and see theatrically after cringing at the trailer only a few weeks before. I think it was my wife's pick that week, although I will confess that there were several moments that had me laughing aloud. Having said that, I was only mildly looking forward to watching this three times over the space of a couple of days - one viewing for the main feature and twice more for each of the commentary tracks awaited me over a weekend.

    In this comedy by Director Donald Petrie, Sandra Bullock stars as rough-and-ready FBI agent Gracie Hart. She's a real tomboy who eats with her mouth open, has a snorty laugh, and has little interest in her personal appearance. She doesn't even own a hair-brush and in her own words is having a 'bad hair decade'.

    When FBI agent Eric Matthews, played by Benjamin Bratt, is heading a team investigating a bomber and gets a tip that the next strike may be in Texas at the Miss United States Pageant, Gracie is enlisted to help. Of course, her level of involvement is over and above what she was expecting. She is actually entered into the pageant as Miss New Jersey and guaranteed a top five finish so she can get access to all the behind-the-scenes areas in an effort to flush out the bomber. Being the tomboy that she is though means that some effort is going to be required to get her presentation to a standard that will not make her the laughing stock of the pageant. Enter Victor Melling (Michael Caine), a seasoned veteran of the pageant stage who has transformed many a wannabe into a glamour queen. Little has prepared him for Dirty Harriet (his words, not mine) and he sets about an overhaul of epic proportions to turn Gracie into a credible Miss United States contestant inside 48 hours. These are some of the funniest scenes in the movie and prove what a good comic actor Sandra Bullock is. Suffice it to say that Gracie makes the grade and enters the pageant in search of the bomber. Obviously not is all as it seems, and between a scheming Pageant organiser, Ms Morningside (Candice Bergen) and a soon-to-be-retired host (William Shatner), Gracie uncovers more than she was expecting.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    An excellent video transfer is presented. Given the age of the material and the popularity of the movie,  it is what I would have expected.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect of 1.78:1 compared to the original theatrical aspect of 1.85:1. It is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is beautifully sharp and clear, with only a handful of cases of minor edge enhancement present. Shadow detail is not stretched too much as much of this is shot in bright light. Grain is not present and there is no low level noise.

    Colours are vibrant and rich with a wide palette on offer. There are no instances of colour bleed or oversaturation. Skin tones are perfectly natural.

    There are no MPEG artefacts present. The transfer is virtually free of any film-to-video artefacts and there are no film artefacts of any consequence.

    Only one set of subtitles are present, these being English for the Hearing Impaired. I sampled these extensively and noticed no major problems aside from the usual one or two word omissions.

    This is an RSDL formatted disc. The layer change occurs at 44:32 and is barely noticeable.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are three audio tracks available, all in English; a Dolby Digital 5.1 main feature track, and two Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded commentary tracks.

    There are no dialogue problems. Dialogue is always clear and prominent through the centre channel. There are no audio sync issues - not the widest of soundstages is created here, with much centre channel focus. This is a little disappointing given the quality we have come to expect from recent 5.1 releases.
   
    The musical score is by Edward Shearmur, and is mostly unremarkable but serviceable. The songs used are more prominent. Efforts by The Commitments and Tom Jones especially stand out.

    Surround channel use is limited, although given the type of film this is, this is not unexpected. Subwoofer use is also limited though not completely missing. It does not draw undue attention to itself.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    A reasonable selection of extras is available including two commentary tracks.

Main Menu Audio

    The theme music in a loop.

Dolby Digital Trailer

    Canyon - Some decent surround effects on this one but it's still overly loud.

Filmographies-Cast & Crew

    Very basic filmographies only for the main cast and the director..

Audio Commentary - Sandra Bullock (Actor) & Marc Lawrence (Screenwriter)

    This commentary is provided by Sandra Bullock and screenwriter Marc Lawrence. Presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 surround and quite nicely done in a technical sense. Sandra Bullock is primarily mixed to the left, Marc Lawrence to the right, and soundtrack dialogue is mixed to the centre, at a lower level. This makes it very easy to listen to and identify who is speaking. This is one of the rare occasions where the main star actually does the entire commentary track rather than having their brief comments edited in (she is the producer of the film which may explain that). I am, though, beginning to realise why they don't do them more often. They seem to spend most of their time either talking about themselves or simply giggling at what is occurring on the screen. To be fair, this commentary starts off slow but does warm up and gain momentum once Sandra Bullock gets the hang of how the commentary thing works. It provides some interesting highlights scattered throughout (watch out for the lucky extras from the Samsung company in an early scene) and there is little in the way of extended periods of silence. Both are together and watching the film at the time of recording the commentary.

Audio Commentary - Donald Petrie (Director)

    Commentary from the Director, Donald Petrie. Repeats many of the anecdotal stories that Sandra Bullock and Marc Lawrence mention in their commentary. He does go into more detail in the development of the story, the reasons certain scenes worked the way they did and some of the casting choices made. It is not the easiest commentary to listen to. He is watching the film at the time, though he does leave many long pauses between comments.

Featurette - Preparing for the Pageant

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with snips from the movie in 1.78:1 widescreen. It is not 16x9 enhanced. Comes with a Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack. This is a behind the scenes documentary (a very loose definition) that is really just a short making-of featurette. It also contains a deleted scene called the 'Dancing Scene' that has a brief introduction by the Director, Donald Petrie. Total running length is 8:58 minutes. It also features English for the Hearing Impaired subtitles.

Featurette - The Pageant

    Presented in 1.33:1 with movie snips in 1.78:1 widescreen. It is not 16x9 enhanced and runs for 11:34 minutes. More of the same behind the scenes stuff, though it does include three deleted scenes with intro by the director, including the funny lesbian line that is in the trailer but not the final cut.

Theatrical Trailer

    Presented in 1.78:1, it is 16x9 enhanced and comes with Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded sound. It runs for 2:22 minutes. As mentioned above, it actually contains some footage that doesn't make the final cut. Generally quite amusing.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    According to Widescreen Review, the Region 1 disc is exactly the same as ours. The local product obviously wins due to superior PAL formatting.

Summary

    Miss Congeniality is a mildly enjoyable comedy that I found was not as satisfying the second (and third, and fourth) time around. The plot is only wafer-thin but the amusing performance from Sandra Bullock keeps it all from sinking. The video presentation is exemplary and the audio is serviceable but unremarkable. The extras are certainly better than expected and do make this a worthwhile purchase, even more so if you have yet to see the film.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Tuesday, July 31, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 1200, using S-Video output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

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