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JANUARY 9, 2001
sisters three, plot
zero in new comedy
Bullock pulls off ugly duckling
routine in 'Miss Congeniality'
By Wilhelmina Mauritz
Darl, Arts WVriter -,
By Ryan Bay
Have you ever wondered what it
woWld be like if someone threw
*harma and Greg" and "Friends"
Mether? Did you ever wake up late at
night, dying for that irresistible sound of
tonight at 9:30
a laugh track?
Well then NBC
has a show just for
The quirky plot
like this: Steven, a
' marries Bess
LaNasa). But dur-
ing her pregnancy,
her younger sister
1, e w i s ,
that he got more than he bargained for.
Rounding out the cast are Oscar
Nominee Dyan Cannon ("Ally
McBeal") as the sisters' free-spirited
mom and Peter Borenz as their father.
He doesn't have any adjectives as of yet.
The writers may want to work on that.
Wacky twists in tonight's debut
include a confrontation with Nora's ex-
husband at a cafe, a blow-up between
Nora and Bess and a whole lot of bitter-
ness by Nora. Evidently, the writers have
decided to focus on Nora. This is wise,
because besides being the most well
known of the cast, Vicki Lewis is also
the most talented. In fact, it is a crying
shame she is stuck on this mediocre sit-
com. Those who remember her from her
role as the quirky secretary on
"Newsradio" will long for the outstand-
ing ensemble performance of that show
and wonder why it was ever taken off the
air. But if that happens, they might miss
the really unfunny running gag of
women discussing what they ate for
After writing for hits such as "Murphy
Brown," "Roscanne" and "Ellen," co-
writers Eileen Heisler and DeAnn
ieline could regret this little setback.
But they really don't have much to work
I would have to say the most
shocking moment in "Miss
Congeniality" was when Sandra
Bullock's character was transformed
from an ugly duckling FBI agent into
a beauteous pageant contestant ... oh
wait, that's not right, I, and probably
everyone else with eyes, already
knew that Sandra Bullock was gor-
geous. So, it came as no surprise that
when Sandra's character brushed her
Courtesy of NBC
We're sisters, we share everything!
with. Throwing in a blond, a brunette and
a redhead and expecting snappy dialogue
is not the way to develop a strong cast.
Nora's pessimism is, like Chandler
Bing's on "Friends," cute to a certain
extent. But when it becomes the pivot of
the dialogue, then eventually it begins to
loss its sharpness.
Perhaps a show can indeed be sal-
vaged from this shaky start. After all, it
took "Seinfeld" a few years to develop.
But as it stands, "Three Sisters"is exact-
lv that, three sisters waiting for their
NBC close-up like the three female co-
stars of "Friends."
hair, put on some
cara and stepped
and Quality 16
lipgloss and mas-
out of her baggy
suit into a tight,
short dress that
she was nothing
short of stun-
of this ahead of
made the story
about an unat-
t r a c t i v c ,
agent that has to
go undercover at
"Newsradio") returns from a two-year
African trip and moves in with the cou-
ble. throw in loopy youngest sister
Xnnic (A.J. Langer, "My So-Called
e"), whose main goal in the pilot is to
sell her eggs on Ebay. Steven, who
annoyingly narrates on occasion, finds
Courtesy of Warner Bros.
Captain Kirk interviews a new recruit. Is she going to work for Priceline too?
OAR promises sonic revolution,
barely paddles b at Bli*nd, Pig
YJoshua Gross anxiously look at their watches when a song's catchinessis
Daiy Aits Writer rificed for substance and relevance. However, their "clien
I_.. ....,.. .L .. ...t.. ,. ..."r
pageant, a wee
Putting all of what I've just said
aside though, "Miss Congeniality"
was a charming comedy that let
Bullock shine; something we haven't
really seen since "Speed" and
"While You Were Sleeping."
Bullock went beyond her normal
cute girl-next-door image to play the
exact opposite, and stayed true to her
character throughout the movie.
Often times movies like this will fall
into the trap where a character will
do a turnabout and change complete-
lv. When this happens, it always
seems so unbelievable. Bullock
stayed away from repeating this com-
mon mistake, even when she did
have on a beautiful evening gown
and some fake boob inserts.
Perhaps the best part of "Miss
Congeniality" was Michael Caine
who played Bullock's gay beauty
consultant and eventual confidant.
Far from his Oscar winning role in
"The Cider House Rules," Caine
proves once again that he is a multi-
dimensional actor with a flare for
comedy that he hasn't put to the test
in quite a few years.
Ihere were numerous other sup-
porting roles that were equally won-
derful. Candice Bergman plays the
head of the M iss United States
pageant and tries to shy away from
the image that it is a beauty pageant
and instead keeps insisting that it is a
Benjamin Bratt, who is Bullock's
co-worker and close friend, is perfect
for his role. I only wish they hadn't
tried to squeeze in a romantic angle
betwcen the two stars since it just
seemed sort of rushed and put in
there in order to follow some set of
For those Star'Trek fans out there.
William Shatner also has a small
comedic role as the co-host of the
Even though all of the characters
individually add to the movie as a
whole, at time it feels as if they are
there mostly to provide suspects for
the movies mystery, which is a bit
shabby to say the least. It is obvious
that the focus of the movie is sup-
posed to be Bullock and her transfor-
mation, not the FBI undercover job
directly since the film never even
lets you care too much who the vil-
lain is and why.
All in all "Miss Congeniality" was
quite funny and overall very enjoy-
able. It never took itself too serious-
ly and it even felt, at times, as though
the movie was making fun of itself.
In this day and age any movie
about a beauty pageant has to be full
of laughs and mockery and never
take itself seriously.
Last Saturday, OAR 'OfA Revolution) hit the Blind Pig with
about as much force as a Nerf football. Over the course of their
tet they pumped out their squeaking pop fusion of rock and
reggae. Although the audience seemed enthralled, OAR did
nothing more than confirm their own musical confinements:
They play watered down reggae for white people, serving a
clean-cut clientele who can't handle the smell of clove oil and
glare suspiciously if they sense an oily dreadlock flopping
und next to them, who cringe uncomfortably when the grit-
ty realism of apartheid or racism is depicted through song, who
love them, and when they began belting out the catchy" Crazy
Game of Poker, the high pitched shrieking reached car-bleed-
They tried hard to impress, and impress they did; I alone
found myself staring in dismay at the throngs of polished
Abercrombie models in slick, spiked hair lip-synching to each
droning melody. Reggae requires soul, a sacrifice of ego and
glitz, with each musician completely giving him/herself over to
the music, a literal revolution of the self. OAR sacrificed noth-
ing. They just played their music. And sometimes that isn't
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anuary 12, 2001
- * Am a m A -Am *Am%..A- ALI,