Beauty and the Briefcase
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this TV movie is littered with sexual references in all forms, from passionate kissing to chats about previous sexual encounters, and in one case, the implication of a short-term partner’s overnight stay (though nothing beyond making out is shown). The main character’s mission to date as many guys as possible has iffy messages for teens about responsible relationships. Sporadic language (“hell” and “ass,” mostly) is another concern, but none of this is probably new to the teen viewers the movie is geared toward. The main character lies and deceives her coworkers for the sake of her article, but the eventual exposure of her actions forces her to take responsibility for what she’s done.
What's the story?
Aspiring fashion journalist Lane Daniels (Hilary Duff) is so discouraged with the dating scene that she’s toyed with the idea of switching careers to expand the pool of potential mates. When she pitches the idea as a story to an editor at Cosmopolitan magazine, she’s hopeful this could be not only the big break her career needs, but also the fast track to true love. Lane lands a job at an investment firm and starts her quest to find the perfect guy, but her interest in the project wanes when an exotic stranger named Liam (Chris Carmack) sweeps her off her feet... and away from the office. Continuing to see him threatens her prospects at Cosmo, and keeping up the charade for her new boss, Tom (Michael McMillian), proves increasingly challenging as time passes, leaving Lane at a crossroads between her personal and professional lives.
Is it any good?
Based on the book Diary of a Working Girl by Daniella Brodsky, BEAUTY AND THE BRIEFCASE stars a very grown-up Duff, who really delights in her role as an ambitious writer and hopeless romantic who often finds these two sides of herself at odds with each other. Lane’s evolution from a career-driven diva to someone who’s willing to compromise for love is a good reminder that happiness falls in the balance between two people’s ideas of perfection.
Mature teens shouldn’t have a problem putting the movie’s frequent sexual references, language, and adult drinking into context, but this same content makes it inappropriate for tweens. Similarly, teens can reconcile Lane’s self-motivated behavior (embellishing her qualifications to get a job, and dating coworkers without regard to their feelings, for example) and recognize the personal journey she makes toward happiness.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can discuss the movie’s messages about dating and relationships. Can you relate to Lane’s desire to speed-date lots of guys to find Mr. Right? Do you think this method would be successful for you? Do you think this movie portrays healthy romantic relationships? Why or why not?
Teens: What qualities do you look for in a boyfriend or girlfriend? How do you go about meeting people you’d like to date? Is finding a partner a priority for you right now? How do your career aspirations compare to your hope for love?
Lane changes jobs to meet more men, which implies that certain careers are male-dominated. Do you agree? If so, which ones? What challenges do women face in breaking into these careers? Is gender equality in the workplace still a concern today? What can be done to level the playing field?