Armed and Fabulous

Directed by John Pasquin. USA. 2005.

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The sequel to the surprise Sandra Bullock vehicle of 2000 has her reprising her role as Gracie Hart, the FBI agent who after saving the life of Miss America at the beauty pageant finds that it is hard to work in the field when the villains recognise your face.  Instead, under the advisement of her superiors she becomes the new face of the FBI as a means of publicity and recruitment, with her appearing on television shows and signing copies of her ghost-written autobiography.

The film kicks into gear when the unlucky Miss America gets kidnapped along with the MC Stan (funny William Shatner) in the middle of Nevada, Gracie and her new partner Sam (Regina King) move west to solve the crime but find their talents undermined by those who mistake them for that which they have become, and not as active agents.

While Bullock is a talented comedy actress, who in the past has done well with past scripts, here in spite of a good premise the film at times does seem to lack the spark that gave the first film such a life.  The premise of showing Hart with a new female partner is something rarely seen in American cinema (and not seen since F.E.D.S. (1989) in 1988), but Bullock and King do form a good partnership telling us a lot about the social mores of the modern woman. This partnership unlike Riggs/Murtagh is one built on friendship and that unlikely thing trust, not a manly respect of machismo.

King after her supporting roles in Jerry Maguire and Ray is deserving of her chance in the spotlight and grabs it. And, Bullock does what she does best, funny with words, costume and the physical aspect of pratfalls and props; at times she is reaching for laughs but it is just good to see her back after her self-inflicted absence after Two Weeks Notice (2003).  

Light, harmless entertainment.

Jamie Garwood
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