Beauty and the Briefcase



Duff hunts for a mate in a bit sexed up, but sweet TV movie.
  • Review Date: April 15, 2010
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Romance
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 86 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

While Lane nearly loses everything she’s worked for -- both personally and professionally -- when her many lies catch up with her, she learns her lesson about toying with others’ trust and emotions and finds that it’s impossible to go wrong when you follow your heart. Some iffy messages about a woman's need for a man are part of the story.

Positive role models

Lane is smart, professional, and driven to succeed, often at the expense of those around her. She sets aside others’ feelings in her efforts to date as many guys as possible in a short time. Her actions prove she’s willing to do anything to follow her dream, though she does learn -- in the end -- that being realistic and flexible about those dreams is the key to true happiness.

Not applicable

Lots of passionate kissing, and an implied sexual encounter (the guy leaves the woman’s apartment the next morning), but nothing is shown. Characters make frequent references to sex, including talking about where they’ve had sex, whom they’d like to have sex with, and the desire to “get laid.” Men and women comment on each other’s appeal, calling individuals “sexy,” and “hot,” and checking out butts.


Marginal language like “ass,” “butt,” “freakin’,” “bastard,” and “hell” are used intermittently. “Oh my God” is a common phrase.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking -- beer, champagne, and mixed beverages -- is central to any social gathering, but no one suffers ill effects from it.

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.

Families can talk about...

  • 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?

Movie details

DVD release date:February 8, 2011
Cast:Hilary Duff, Matt Dallas, Michael McMillian
Director:Gil Junger
Studio:Image Entertainment
Run time:86 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of Beauty and the Briefcase was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
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  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 13 years old Written byPotterania August 25, 2010

Perfect for older teens, but not for kids

I enjoyed the movie. It had a rather original storyline, good actors and some funny scenes. My only concern is the frequent talk about sexual things.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Kid, 11 years old June 14, 2014

free is for me

I've seen this movie a thousand times but, i've only seen it because it was for free on youtube. I thought it was not pg more like pg-14. I thought it portrayed a women who was willing to lie to get what she wants and cheat on her boyfriend while dating other men. This is just my opinion....
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 16 years old Written bywards8 May 12, 2013

3 Stars

Beauty and the Briefcase is about a girl named Lane who is played by Hillary Duff. In the movie she is looking for her ideal man and for some romance in her life in New York city. To do so Lane goes undercover at work at a Finance Company but is secretly working for Cosmo. She finds Chris Carmack who plays Liam and hits it off with him. Hillary does a good job in the film, but her roles humor is not very good. I disliked how they paused the movie and put her love tips in the screen. You could tell that this was a TV movie and not a big league one. I always saw Hillary Duff as a childrens actor and seeing her filling an adult role was kind of hard for me to get used to. What she did do well was play her character. The chemistry she had with the other characters was really good and you could tell how relaxed she was. The acting from Chris Carmack was very impressive. His accent was on point and he played his role in a very believable way. I really enjoyed his character and wished to have seen him more in the movie. The beginning of the movie and middle was great and really grabbed my attention but the ending was very predictable and believe they could have made it better then it was.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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