Any actor whose presence who could get me to even consider seeing Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous would have to be said to be someone with undue influence over my emotions and my moviegoing tendencies. Well, it turns out that Sandra Bullock’s costar in this wacky sequel to the wacky Miss Congeniality(2000) is Regina King. So I figure that, before I go and spend $10 on the movie this coming weekend, thus inspiring fear and trembling over my mental state among friends and relatives for doing so, this is as good a time as any to come clean about my big crush on this talented actress. I first discovered her as Marla Gibbs’ sassy daughter on the forgettable sitcom 227 and figured that, despite her spunk and vitality, she’d probably never make it out of the TV comedy wasteland. So when she started showing up in movies like Boyz N The Hood, Poetic Justice and Friday, I was encouraged that she might get something going on after all. And my wife says she’s terrific in a little-seen straight-to-video feature called Love and Action in Chicago. But I think I officially flipped for her as Cuba Gooding’s tough, sexy wife in Jerry Maguire. Ever since then, I’ve imagined every meaty movie role for a young woman with Regina King replacing whatever relative nonentity who was actually cast—imagine how much better Monsters Ball might have been with King squaring off against Billy Bob Thornton. There might have been some actual tension there, and King would have made me believe the extremes of that character’s behavior, as written, that were way out of Halle Berry’s limited range. Ray is the latest showcase for King’s phenomenal energy and presence (until this weekend, I suppose), and I really hope that movie’s popularity opens some doors for her. There’s no reason why casting directors shouldn’t have the imagination to see her in just about any role for which Ashley Judd or Renee Zellweger would be routinely considered (and hopefully the roles she'd get would be better than the ones these actresses routinely accept). Moviegoers live to be seduced by big brown eyes as spectacular as the ones King has at her disposal, eyes that can gaze with tender care, but also burn through you with disbelief and fury in the split second it takes to blink. Audiences, and the movies, will be the ones to gain if we get more opportunities to gaze back at those eyes in the future, in roles that are worthy of them, of course. Directors, say no to Julia, to Angelina, to Gwenyth, and start saying yes, and please, and thank you, and what can I get for you, to Regina King.