The man, the myth, the legend…
Michael Caine is nothing if not versatile, and among his many memorable roles, he played pageant consultant Victor Melling in 2000’s Miss Congeniality.
The film, of course, revolves around FBI agent Grace Hart (Sandra Bullock), who is as rough around the edges as they come. She dresses like a man. She eats like a man. Hungry Man dinners, rare steak, onion rings, entire pints of Ben and Jerry’s. She fights better than her male colleagues, too, who dodge even when she’s going at a practice dummy. Grace can strategize like she’s Ethan Hunt while everyone else sits around looking confused. She is a force to be reckoned with.
Well, in most respects, anyway.
When the FBI uncover a plot to bomb the Miss United States Pageant, Grace is called upon to go undercover as a contestant. In spite of the fact that she doesn’t know how to be a lady, she gets the job.
First on the agenda is making contact with the pageant people, Kathy Morningside (Candace Bergen) and Stan Fields (William Shatner), who chuckle uncomfortably at Grace’s being a contestant. Then Grace and her team leader, Eric Matthews (Benjamin Bratt) meet primo pageant consultant Victor Melling for lunch at Lespinasse. Victor is less than impressed with Grace (he calls her “Dirty Harriet”), and at first she’s not the in least bit floored by Victor’s prestige.
The event will be taking place in San Antonio, and there are only two days for Grace to look pageant-worthy. Vic is not optimistic. He tells Eric on the plane, “With some intensive work, she will be ready for the world’s finest trailer park.”
Gotta love that vote of confidence.
Vic is nothing if not a dedicated pageant consultant, however, and he helps Grace transform like nobody’s business. Speaking of business, as someone who has spent many years in the beauty contest world, Vic is a fountain of knowledge. I’m sure if we asked him nicely, he would share a few tips for success when walking down that runway.
Pretty please, Mr. Melling?
Great. Okay, here we go…
Don’t walk. Glide.
People must have the impression that you float down the street. If you succeed, you will leave them in awe and wonder.
Beauty experts are your best friends.
These people work miracles. It’s their job.
Raw, uncut vegetables are good. Anything else is very bad.
You don’t want that pizza. You really don’t want that pizza. Say it over to yourself.
Don’t stuff donuts down your dress, because I will notice.
Trust me, I will.
Don’t be afraid to cheat a little.
Within reason, of course. No one will know your secrets but you and your pageant consultant.
Hairspray and hemorrhoid ointment are versatile substances.
Strategically placed hairspray can prevent wedgies and hemorrhoid ointment is a good treatment for bags under the eyes. No, really. Gymnasts and models use these tricks all the time.
During the swimsuit competition, don’t be afraid to breezily strut your stuff, especially if you’re the one in the two-piece.
Just relax. Think Zen. Dalai Lama. Calm blue ocean. Whatever puts you in the zone.
Smile, and the judges smile with you.
“Smilers wear a crown, losers wear a frown.”
Always “yes,” never “yeah.” Hands folded. Ankles crossed. Neck up. You may not be a royal, but you can sure sport some of those graces.
Always, always, always, keep your eye on the prize.
Your whole pageant experience has been building to this.
Thank you, Mr. Melling!
Their characters may appear combative, but Sandra Bullock and Michael Caine had a fun rapport, and Bullock had a great time trying to get Caine to laugh. Whenever he flubbed a line, she would say some variation of “We’re taking the Oscar back.” While Caine’s part in Miss Congeniality isn’t huge, he’s a terrific foil for Bullock and was clearly enjoying himself in the role.
For more of the marvelous Michael Caine, please visit Gill at Realweegiemidget Reviews. Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed, and see you tomorrow!
Miss Congeniality is available on DVD from Amazon.