When we last saw Sandra Bullock's slob-turned-sophisticate Gracie Hart, the federal agent was reveling in both professional and personal success. Fast-forward 10 months. ''Because of her notoriety from the pageant, she's been unable to carry out her real duties and is now a poster girl for the FBI,'' says director John Pasquin (The Santa Clause), who agreed to helm the sequel only if it was ''significantly different'' from the 2000 original.
His wish was granted. Gone are Michael Caine's grooming guru and Benjamin Bratt's smarmy agent. In are Without a Trace's Enrique Murciano, as a fellow FBI agent, and Regina King, who plays Gracie's reluctant bodyguard. ''Our relationship is similar to the one between Danny Glover and Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon,'' says the Ray actress, who bonded with Bullock while shooting scenes dressed as Las Vegas drag queens. ''Both of our costumes were pretty painful,'' she explains. ''It was fun the first two days, but afterward we had marks and bruises all over our bodies.'' Don't worry, girls; what one wears in Vegas stays in Vegas.