Call it nominative determinism but the Kirk Douglas-dimpled Sandra Bullock is often the most bullish person in the movies she’s in. This is presumably why somebody thought she’d be ideal playing a tough cop who makes an ugly-duckling transformation in order to go undercover at a beauty pageant. It’s completely unbelievable, of course – Bullock never for a second looks less than a Hollywood A list star, even when made up to look like a dog. But who wants believable when there’s fun to be had? And so we yield to Bullock’s brilliant comic interplay with Michael Caine, as her camp coach in feminine poise (see what I mean by unbelievable), and if that doesn’t work you can always snigger at the self-deprecatingly amusing turn as an oily MC by William Shatner’s hairpiece. Here’s a film that has all the old-fashioned energy of a 1930s screwball comedy, which generally handed decent roles to strong women, though it does get its thong in a twist trying simultaneously to validate and pillory beauty queens.
© Steve Morrissey 2013