Lane (Hilary Duff) is looking for love in all the wrong places. She just can't find any guys who match up to her Magic Man Wishlist. That's right, Lane is looking for a Magic Man (a phrase which she repeats at least three dozen times during the movie) and she's got a heaping list of characteristics this man should possess. He should have a sexy accent, be spontaneous, have impeccable fashion sense, travel to exotic locations on a whim, and have the same snooty taste in food that she does. Oh, and on top of all that he's got to have a rock hard six pack. In short, Lane is looking for a man who doesn't exist, but that doesn't stop her from whining about it.
She's a writer who's banged out a few fashion articles here and there, and now she's been hired by Cosmopolitan Magazine to write a cover story about finding love in the business world. Why this is even a story worth the time of a popular magazine is beyond me. So the rules are set forth. Lane's editor tells her to only date men in suits (business men), and not to date anyone else. She's set up, undercover, as a receptionist at a large business firm.
Lane is supposed to be a queen of all things fashion, but for some reason she dresses like a day-glow hooker for most of the movie. She struts around the office practically throwing herself on any guy that will take her out. She tells herself that it's all for the good of journalism.
'Beauty and the Briefcase' first aired on ABC Family and has now found its way to home video. It's an agonizing rom-com that becomes more and more irritating as it progresses. Duff's incessant voiceover, which pipes in whenever there is a break in dialogue, is enough to make you want to switch the movie off for good.
Lane is never likable, in fact most of the things she does are downright detestable. No wonder she hasn't found a guy, who would ever want to deal with the baggage she's carrying? Lane and her friends spend the entire movie ogling guys and wondering how big their biceps are. My favorite part is when Lane and her pals are sitting around a table playing Go Fish with cards featuring bulging abs and biceps. "Do you have a pair of insanely tanned abs?" "Yes I do." Yeah, that's about the extent of the writing talent on display here. It's absolutely abysmal.
On cue, the story follows every formulaic plan in the book. Lane falls for a guy she's not supposed to fall for, all the while she's still trying to complete her story without anyone knowing what she's up to. She keeps secrets from everyone, but the key players find out one way or another, which leads to a confrontation, and then to a happy doe-eyed resolution.
I know I shouldn't expect much from a Hilary Duff rom-com that was made for TV, but getting through this was a chore. Think of it as me doing the work, so you don't have to bother.
'Beauty and the Briefcase' features a candy-coated 1080p AVC-encoded transfer.
The entire production has that pristine sheen that only made-for-TV movies can provide. It's free of any sort of filmic grain, and comes bursting off the screen with amped up colors and slightly hot skintones. It's got the patented warm color palette that's become the staple of rom-coms. Skin tones take on an ever-so orangish tint, but nothing that really detracts from the movie. As a matter of fact the detail here is top-notch. From facial features to textures, to the odd and eye-numbing patterns that Lane decides to wear. Everything is completely visible. The picture is highly colorful with pinks and purples flying out of the picture. Detail is so good it's easy to see the caked on makeup that was used on Hilary Duff's and Jamie Pressly's faces.
This is a brightly colored, clearly defined transfer. I did notice that darker scenes harbored a bit of noise. Aliasing and other artifacts are kept at bay. If you're into this movie then you'll be very pleased with its pristine looking transfer to Blu-ray.
The lossless 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix doesn't live up to its video counterpart. This is a wimpy, unresponsive mix that doesn't give the movie the liveliness that the colorful video gives it.
Dialogue comes through the center and front channels clearly, but the rear channels are all but silent for much of the movie. This is odd, since the entire movie is set in busy offices, on busy streets, or in busy restaurants. There were a few times where the dialogue was obviously dubbed in a studio after the movie was shot, like when characters are walking together on a busy street, and the audio sync is slightly off. It's spot on everywhere else, but there are just a few scenes on the streets where the mouth is moving but the words don't necessarily match it exactly.
The pop-filled soundtrack kicks in the LFE every once and a while, but it seems stilted and reserved when it should be rumbling with bass beats from the various pop songs.
Not one supplement can be found here. Phew.
'Beauty and the Briefcase' is shallow nonsense passed off as a heartwarming rom-com because of its perky lead, bright colors, and middling humor. It's a chore to get through. Watching Lane do the things she does is frustrating. The movie is terribly mired in the swamp of rom-com clichés. There's no sign it'll dig its way out either.
No matter what I say about 'Beauty and the Briefcase,' I'm sure it has its fans. For them, this transfer looks really great, but the audio isn't up to snuff, and there are absolutely no special features for you to enjoy. I'd say rent this one before you make the decision to purchase it.