When a serial killer indicates that his next target is the Miss United States beauty pageant, the FBI decides that they must get an undercover agent as a participant in the contest. A search uncovers no suitable candidate other than a bumbling female agent (Sandra Bullock). Reluctantly her captain (Ernie Hudson) agrees to let her join the team working the case. The team is led by a womanizing agent (Ben Bratt) who has an apparent reluctant attraction to Bullock's character. She enters as Miss New Jersey replacing a contestant who was discovered to have acted in a porno film. The pageant managers (Candice Bergen, William Shatner) are immediately aghast about the agent appearing in the pageant, but arrange a top handler (Michael Caine) to come give her a quick makeover with the expected outstanding results. Unfortunately she still is bumbling. When the killer is suddenly caught, everything seems to be over, except the female agent tries to convince her boss that something is still not right. She has discovered that the pageant managers are being dismissed after 21 years for younger people and Bergen's character may not be as solid as she seems on the surface.