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Beauty & the Briefcase (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

February 6, 2011 by  



“Beauty & the Briefcase” has its share of charming, embarrassingly funny moments but works for an ABC Family romantic comedy.

Images courtesy of © 2010 ABC Family. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Beauty & the Briefcase

FILM RELEASE DATE: 2010

DURATION: 86 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:78:1), English, 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Subtitles: English SDH, French

COMPANY: ABC Family/Image Entertainment

RATED: Not Rated

RELEASE DATE: February 8, 2011

Based on the Novel “Diary of a Working Girl” by Daniella Brodsky

Directed by Gil Junger

Teleplay by Michael Horowitz

Produced by Hilary Duff, Richard Fischoff

Executive Produced by Jessica Horowitz, Ira Pincus, Robert M. Sertner, Frank von Zerneck, Kolie Wagner

Co-Produced by Laurence Ducceschi

Associate Producer: Madeline Bavli

Music by Danny Lux

Cinematographer by Greg Gardiner

Edited by Don Brochu

Casting by Elizabeth Coulon

Production Design by James A. Gelarden

Set Decoration by Bradford Johnson

Starring:

Hilary Duff as Lane

Jaime Pressly as Editor

Jennifer Coolidge as Alicia

Chris Carmack as Liam

Matt Dallas as Seth

Amanda Walsh as Joanne

Michael McMillian as Tom

Lane Daniels (Hilary Duff, A Cinderella Story, “Lizzie McGuire”) is a bright, ambitious journalist who dreams of writing for Cosmopolitan, her favorite magazine. She finally gets her chance to pitch her article, “Switching Careers to Find Love” to Cosmo’s editor Kate White (Emmy™-winner Jaime Pressly, “My Name is Earl”, “Las Vegas”) who enthusiastically accepts the idea, recognizing a potential cover story.

Lane’s editor gives her enthusiastic recruit some very firm, very simple rules:  first, land a corporate job.  Then, she must date as many eligible co-workers as possible!   As Lane navigates her way through her new corporate world, she meets Tom (Michael McMillan, “True Blood”) and Seth (Matt Dallas, “Kyle XY”)…appealing, available:  but how do they match up to her ‘checklist’ of ideal male qualities?  Then Lane meets Liam (Chris Carmack, “The O.C.”):  a dashing music producer working outside her office.  Dating him would mean breaking the rules, and suddenly career and love threaten to collide.

Nominated for a 2011 People’s Choice Award, Beauty and the Briefcase charms and captivates with its young and talented cast and appealing, thoughtful story.    Will Lane choose the love of her life or the career of a lifetime?


Beauty & The Briefcase – Film Clip: “Lunch Date With Seth”

Beauty & The Briefcase – Film Clip: “Getting the Hang of It”

Beauty & The Briefcase – Film Clip: “Men in Suits”

Beauty & The Briefcase – Trailer

“Beauty & the Briefcase” has its share of charming, embarrassingly funny moments but works for an ABC Family romantic comedy.

Actress Hilary Duff is all grown up and she returns in a “Sex and the City-esque” style of storyline in “Beauty & the Briefcase”, an ABC Family television film that is an adaptation of the novel “Diary of a Working Girl” by Daniella Brodsky.  The film featured a collaboration with ABC Family and Cosmopolitan magazine and aired on April 18, 2010 and attracted 2.4 million viewers.  The TV film was nominated for “Favorite Family TV Movie” for the People’s Choice Awards 2011.

The film is directed by Gil Junger (popular TV director and director for “10 Things I Hate About You” movie and TV series, “Greek”, “Hope & Faith”, “According to Jim”) and a screenplay adaptation by Michael Horowitz (“Burn Notice”).

Lane Daniels (played by Hilary Duff, “Gossip Girl”, “Lizzie McGuire”), is an ambitious journalist who wants to move from smaller publications and work her dream job by getting her foot in the door for a larger magazine.   She’s also a young woman who works in the fashion industry and is unable to find love in New York City.  All the men she meets are bad boys, strange guys or gay men.

But when her good friend and roommate, fashion photographer Joanna (played by Amanda Walsh, “Disturbia”, “Sons & Daughters”, “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past”) is able to use her contacts in getting Lane an opportunity to meet with the Cosmopolitan editor Kate White (played by Jaime Pressly, “My Name is Earl”, “I Love You, Man”), at first the meeting doesn’t go quite well, that is until Lane starts talking about how she is unable to find a man in New York City that meets her requirements on her checklist.  Interesting enough, Kate has a similar problem and both women have something in common.  So, Kate offers her a chance to write an article for Cosmopolitan Magazine by writing about men in suits, but the only catch… she must date only men wearing suits.

So, immediately the journalist in Lane kicks in and she creates a fake resume which gets her a job for an investment corporation and becomes the assistant/secretary for Tom (played by Michael McMillian, “True Blood”, “What I Like About You”, “The Hills Have Eyes”).  A straight-laced man who enjoys being eco-friendly, wearing the same type of brand for a shirt and a boss willing to give Lane a chance.  And not a man who Lane would be interested in as he is dating another woman.

But Lane is confident as she is working at a job that would be a wonderful experiment for her article as she is surrounded by many men in suits and so, she begins dating various men and learning about their social/love life.  One of those men include Seth (played by Matt Dallas, “Kyle XY”, “Eastwick”).

But Lane does run into a snag.  While she is supposed to focus on her article and is only supposed to date guys who wear suits,  she has met the man of her dreams, a guy named Liam (played by Chris Carmack, “The O.C.”, “Into the Blue 2”), a man with a British accent, owns a record label and he’s always in her mind.  At work, when she’s with other men, around her boss and unfortunately it starts to cause problems in her life because she can’t focus on her job and her article.

Cosmopolitan Editor Kate White wants her to dump Liam and focus on her story and her roommate Joanna is also concerned because Lane is not focusing on her job and can also affect Joanna’s chances of being hired for fashion photo shoots for the magazine.

Will Lane be able to focus on her work?  What happens when her boss finds out that she is not exactly the person that she said she is n her resume?  And will she be able to focus on anything as she finds herself getting deeper with Liam (who is actually not the guy that she thinks he is).

VIDEO:

“Beauty & the Briefcase” is presented in 1080p High Definition (Widescreen 1:78:1).  The film was shot using an F23 Sony camera in progressive HD and for a TV movie, the film looks very good, especially with shots of Lane walking through New York.  If anything, the film manages to show the vibrancy of New York as well as the fashion elements from the film but it works for a TV film, I didn’t notice any high-details when it came to objects, clothing or skin pigmentation as you would see from a feature film but nevertheless, “Beauty & the Briefcase” does showcase colors which are vibrant and also didn’t notice the artifacts and coloration problems that I tend to see with TV episodes or some TV films.

“Beauty & the Briefcase” definitely looks stylish and colorful and fans of the TV film will definitely enjoy this Blu-ray release.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Beauty & the Briefcase” is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1.  The soundtrack is pretty much front and center-channel driven but noticed sometimes you will hear the music being played through the surround channels but dialogue is clear as with its musical soundtrack but for the most part, not an immersive lossless soundtrack.  I was hoping to hear more crowd ambiance from the club scenes or the corporate building that Lane works but it’s not well-utilized through the surround channels as I would have hoped for.  But still, for those that don’t have a home theater setup should be fine as the TV film is clear through the front and center channels.

Subtitles are presented in English and English SDH.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Beauty & the Briefcase” comes with no special features but a trailer (1:07) for the film.

Before I begin with my review, I want to emphasize that this is an ABC Family TV film and if you are familiar with Gil Junger films such as “10 Things I Hate About You” and films or TV series with Hilary Duff, these two work well together for “Beauty & the Briefcase” as it is a simple romantic comedy and literally a film that showcases Hilary Duff, the young adult actress and separating her from the teenage characters that many are used to her playing.

Many audiences have grown up with watching Duff in “Lizzy McGuire” and so, to have her in a role as a young adult, working in the fashion world and looking beautiful as ever, her fans will definitely enjoy this film. Especially fans of Matt Dallas of the defunct ABC Family show “Kyle XY” and Chris Charmack of “The O.C.”.  The film also features Jaime Pressly and also a cameo appearance by Jennifer Coolidge (“American Pie”, “Joey”, “The Secret Life of the American Teenager”).

So, first the good.  The good news about “Beauty & The Briefcase” is it has its positive moments.  Lane in New York, the cinematography featuring her walking through New York is beautiful, the vibrant colors featured in the film is beautiful and the “Sex and the City”-like storyline is going to appeal to many of the female viewers.  It’s a fun romantic comedy that has its charming moments but also its embarrassing moments and it works for an ABC Family TV film.  It’s stylishly cute and as a guy watching the film, I have to admit that Hilary Duff looks great!

But while “Sex and the City” worked because of its adult theme, it’s the portrayal of Lane (Duff’s character) that actually irked me.  For one, it’s seemed like a stereotypical role of portraying a dumb blonde. Yes, she’s a journalist and obviously has intelligence but when she tries to get a job at the Investment company, her immature way of getting the job to how she would try to make her desk fashionable with beads and such, yes I understand she comes from the fashion world but I have met many women from the fashion industry and to portray them in this manner, is just crazy (especially in this day and age).

In one scene, while Lane’s boss Tom (played by Michael McMillian) and Seth (played by Matt Dallas) are in a teleconference with their boss, Lane manages to get into the camera while putting files or books away and she is bending over and literally catching the eyes of their boss, as well as Tom and Seth.

Now, I don’t if these type of scenes are detailed in Daniella Brodsky’s book “Diary of a Working Girl” or these were added by Michael Horowitz.  So, I’m not sure how the actually novel differs from the TV film adaptation.

Also, I didn’t like the sudden shift of how Tom finds out that Lane has been working at the company undercover.  It seemed too abrupt.  But at the same time, there are differences on how feature films and TV films play out and everything is built around how sequences end before a commercial and how a scene begins after a commercial.  It’s the nature of TV films and when it comes to pacing, these things happen.

But another downer for me was the fact that there are no special features.  It would have been great to have featurettes, blooper reels and if ABC Family did have these in their DVD releases of their TV series, I don’t see why they couldn’t add them to their TV film releases on Blu-ray.  In this day and age, especially on Blu-ray, barebone Blu-ray releases are not cool!

But overall, “Beauty & the Briefcase” does have its charming and fun moments and despite how the characters are portrayed or the film’s pacing, for those just wanting a not-so-serious but fun romantic comedy, this film may be for you.

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