HAVING successfully thwarted a terrorist attack at the Miss United States Pageant, tomboy FBI agent Gracie Hart (Sandra Bullock) has become the darling of the media.

When Gracie's newfound fame and celebrity jeopardises her undercover work, and her relationship with her boyfriend breaks down, she reluctantly agrees to become the pretty face of the bureau.

Camp style consultant Joel (Diedrich Bader) and his two assistants are hastily drafted in to transform Gracie into the queen of the chat show circuit.

Keen to protect the bureau's golden girl, Captain McDonald (Ernie Hudson) orders tough cookie agent Sam Fuller (Regina King) to act as Gracie's bodyguard.

Sam is far from thrilled to be reduced to protecting FBI Barbie, sparking a fractious relationship between the two women.

During a meet and greet, Gracie learns that her good friends, pageant winner Cheryl Frazier (Heather Burns) and emcee Stan Fields (William Shatner) have been kidnapped in Las Vegas.

Gracie's crime-fighting instincts immediately kick in and she defies the orders of her superiors to go deep undercover to catch the culprits.

The original Miss Congeniality was a delightful fish-out-of-water comedy that married larger-than-life performances with a riotous spoof of the beauty queen scene.

The sequel, written again by Marc Lawrence, lacks the pizzazz and sparkle of the first film - not to mention the comic genius of Michael Caine.

However, Miss Congeniality 2: Armed And Fabulous does have its moments, such as Gracie's ill-advised encounter with a Dolly Parton lookalike, and the agents' hysterical attempt to pass themselves off as drag queens.

Bullock is probably the best comic actress of her generation and she carries the film through many of the longueurs, polishing some of the lacklustre dialogue.

She spars nicely with King's hard cookie, who invariably mellows into a lifelong friend by the time the end credits roll.

Shatner and Burns make the most of their limited screen time and Bader's fashion oracle couldn't be more limp-wristed without medical attention.

Romantic sub-plots are put firmly on hold this time around - the sequel is very much a case of sisters doing it for themselves.

Fans of the first film will mine enough laughs from the sequel to warrant a viewing but it's unlikely that Miss Congeniality 2: Armed And Fabulous will win any new admirers.

Armed it may be, but Fabulous? I don't think so.

Updated: 09:04 Friday, March 25, 2005