Rom Coms Set at Women's Magazines, Ranked by Staff at a Women's Magazine

Kelly Chiello / InStyle.com / Getty Images, Shutterstock
Have you ever wondered why so many of your favorite rom-coms of the early Aughts (and even some today) feature major characters who work in women's magazines? We also!
At InStyle, we've seen and seen many quarantined classics, thinking about the good, the bad, and the terribly inaccurate city-car riddled world of the fictional women's publishing industry. (Note: none of us at InStyle are named Andy / Andie.)
Here five InStyle editors review films in which the protagonist works in a women's magazine, based on her own perspective as an employee of a women's magazine.
13 Let's continue 30
Rank: # 5 - Isabel Jones, Associate News Writer
The Gist: A 13 year old wants to be "30, flirtatious and successful" on her birthday - and her wish is granted. This film doesn't know anything about working in media, but that's fine.
The main character: Jenna Rink (Jennifer Garner), a 13-year-old who is trapped in the body of a 30-year-old editor-in-chief.
The love interest: Matt "Mattie" Flamhaff (Mark Ruffalo), the cool, nice, formerly friendly and sad Boi photographer.
The magazine: attitude
The review: In my head, 13 Going on 30 is simple and sweet - a colorful remedy for a bad mood. Although I've watched the movie enough times to hear the lines in my head a beat before they even appear on screen, I always forget how reticently dark the plot is. Like, 17 years fast forward and Jenna is a super villain who has affairs with her coworkers' husbands and is armoring her own magazine so she can get a better job with a competitor? I understand what matters, but I refuse to believe that things can be so black and white - even in a rom-com known for its "thriller" dance scene. Not everyone who works in the media is angry!
Aside from the plot that emerges from the class, it's fun to go to 30 and I wish I had taken city cars everywhere and had the confidence to wear neon green.
Is it realistic 3/10 - Jenna's redesign pitch is like a few photos with no explanation of how the content would shift. Where did the budget for these pitches come from? Make it meaningful! And please show me a 30-year-old editor-in-chief who lives alone on 5th Avenue in a spacious apartment with a walk-in closet (and pays his own * rent).
Are your colleagues even realistic? 1/10 - Hmm ... between the stereotypical snobby mean girl and the gay boss who says things like "my balls are in an iron vise" I would say no.
Does it at least make us look good / cool? 5/10 - I too aspire to be friends with Madonna and live comfortably on 5th Avenue, so in a way, yes. Even so, the vicious backstabbing is certainly not a good look.
Is the character at least likeable? 9/10 - Teenage Jenna is adorable, deducting 1 point for the malevolence of the adult train wreck, Jenna.
Are the outfits good? 10/10 - So good! Early Aughts meets' 80s shouldn't work as well as it does. Even Jenna's accidental work outfit - nightdress and polkadot coat - is desirable.
Would we date with the love interest? 7/10 - I never fully understood the Mark Ruffalo appeal, but Mattie is definitely charming (in that one-dimensional way that rom-com love interests come up). If he promises to bring me razzles, I'll jump for 10/10.
How bad is the fake magazine title? 8/10 - Can I see a women's magazine with this title? Yes. Is it the name of a women's incontinence pad brand too? Yes.
The score: 6.1
The devil Wears Prada
Rank: # 3 (Tie) - Kylie Gilbert, Senior Lifestyle Editor
The Gist: An aspiring "serious" young journalist gets a job with the editor-in-chief of a top fashion magazine and is thrown into a world she knows nothing about.
The main character: Andrea "Andy" Sachs (Anne Hathaway), a graduate of Northwestern University and "second" assistant to editor-in-chief Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep).
The love interest: Nate Cooper (Adrian Grenier), chef at Bubby's Tribeca, and actually an idiot?
The magazine: Runway
The review: Admittedly, this film didn't age well in the body-pos era "Me Too". In addition to the obsession with thinness (Emily Bunt's character actually says, "I'm a stomach flu away from my target weight"), Andy is directly referred to as "the smart, fat girl" by her boss. Even her bestie, Nigel (Stanley Tucci), tells her that if she is 6, she needs "a little crisco and fishing line" to fit anything in the closet. Then there's the fact that 22-year-old Andy is being followed by the significantly older writer Christian Thompson (Simon Baker), who tells her the morning after their night out in Paris that he's going to be her boss (not scary at all) - All part of a sneaky move to drive away Miranda, who cries out for age discrimination. Besides that, this film has a special place in my heart, and not just for all the greetings to my alma mater - Go ‘Cats! For those of us who loved The Princess Diaries as a kid, it brought another iconic Anne Hathaway makeover (those bangs!) And served scene after scene with incredible fashion bits and dead one-liners from Meryl Streep ("Florals? For Spring? Breakthrough ”). It also captures the battle of getting out of college with an expensive journalism degree and trying to make your dreams come true in a competitive industry that is often misunderstood. Conclusion: I will never be excited when I hear the legendary opening credits "Suddenly I See" by KT Tunstall when I leaf through the channels.
Is it realistic 8/10 - TDWP is based on the novel by Lauren Weisberger, who was once assistant to an editor-in-chief of Vogue, and many fashion editors have said it was "scary accurate" - but a lot has changed in the industry since 2006. Personal is one of my biggest problems is that Andy could never have afforded her glowing outfits for a starting salary (or borrowed an entire wardrobe from the closet)! Even so, dinner with her father, where he gives her rent and asks if she's sure she doesn't want to pursue another career, was just right.
Are your colleagues even realistic? 8/10 - Sure, she's a bit of a cartoon, but I've 100% interacted with people, just like Emily Charlton (Emily Blunt), who takes some time to break up.
Does it at least make us look good / cool? 7/10 - This film certainly shows the petty, breakneck, and nondescript side of the industry (especially as a personal assistant), but the outfits and Paris Fashion Week might make up for that?
Is the character at least likeable? 6/10 - Andy is lovable, but he can also be complacent and unbearable at times. When she looks back, it's pretty wild that she shows up for her interview with zero preparation, doesn't know the name of the magazine's editor-in-chief, or has the magazine open once (she even gives this to Miranda's face !!) - and still feels kind of eligible to get the job. It's called Google, Andy! (Plus, throwing away an expensive Smith and Wollensky steak is pretty unforgivable.)
Are the outfits good? 10/10 - The canal jacket and the boots. The film's stylist Patricia Field (who worked on Sex and the City) said the film used clothing worth at least $ 1 million.
Would we date with the love interest? 6/10 - Yes, we'd date the capricious chef for way too long before we finally realize that dark hair and flashy blue eyes aren't enough to engage, judge, and not support yourself. He literally says, “Wait, you have a job with a fashion magazine? What was it, a phone interview? "Excuse me, no.
How bad is the fake magazine title? 5/10 - neutral. Runway is not bad?
The score: 7
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How to lose a guy in 10 days
Rank: # 3 (Tie) - Samantha Sutton, Fashion Editor
The Gist: A young "How to Girl" writes the ultimate "How to" column: "How to lose a guy in 10 days".
The lead: Andie Anderson, a 23-year-old writer who has her own column in a women's magazine, but still complains about not being able to write about "real" subjects. (It's unclear if she knows she works in a women's magazine.)
The love interest: Ben Barry (Matthew McConaughey), an ad exec with an equally absurd alliterative name.
The magazine: Serenity
The Review, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days is as cheesy as its title makes it sound, but his strong (and hot) leads make up for what lacks plot. Her chemistry goes through the roof, even if Andie is not the most personable or the best at her job ...
Is it realistic 4/10 - Every editor these days makes Andie Anderson's appearance as a "How To Girl," especially if her focus is on fashion or beauty. Personal essays, photo diaries, everything belongs to the territory. However, we don't spend 10 days just focusing on one thing (especially when it comes to digital). We work on other projects, edit, answer e-mails, take part in brainstorms - um, we work. I would likely get into trouble if I left my desk for long periods of time, attacked my fake friend in his office, and attended fake therapy sessions.
Also, I got pretty annoyed that Andie is mysteriously 23 years old, but somehow in a managerial position and feels entitled to have a free hand and demands that her boss let her write whatever she wants. And as someone from Staten Island, the neighborhood was definitely glamorous and feels too healthy.
Are your colleagues even realistic? 8/10 - I love how supportive their co-workers are and how they are her best friends too. Some of my closest friendships were made through work, and I cried ugly over the life and love in front of them, just like Michelle (Kathryn Hahn). But would they pretend to be my couple's therapist because of a story? OK, yeah, actually I can see that ... but they also have their own to-do lists to worry about. There's also the fact that Andie's boss should be viewed as "mean," but the reality is that she was as flexible as possible while keeping tabs on the magazine's readership.
Does it at least make us look good / cool? 9/10 - I would love if someone would pay me to fall in love with Matthew McConaughey. (And this is where I found the occasional celebrity interview to be fun.) We didn't even see her stressed out about deadlines or trying to do eight different tasks while she was writing her story.
Is the character at least likeable? 4/10 - Not ... really? Her job seems super easy and flexible, but she has a ton of complaints and is expecting to be rewarded. Journalism 101 knows the audience you are writing for. Before asking her boss to publish a serious article on war and politics, she could try giving him a "how to girl" spin first (e.g., she could "how to" girl "running for office" ). It can be a gradual thing, and it also requires some creativity on her part - which she wastes on all the games she plays with Ben. However, she knows how to have fun and seems like a decent friend.
Are the outfits good? 9/10 - People are still trying to recreate that famous yellow dress, and I'm personally a fan of Andie's underrated striped shorts. I take a point, however, for this white button-down and beige skirt combination that definitely feels more financial than the women's magazine.
Would we date with the love interest? 8/10 - He's a player, but McConaughey is definitely eye-friendly and who doesn't love the bad guy who turns out to be the good one? Plus, he literally risked his life chasing her car in traffic (although that might have been a bad move if she wasn't feeling that way).
How bad is the fake magazine title? 2/10 - Composure Magazine. I can definitely imagine it's the name of a real magazine, but it just feels gross in 2020. Like what are you trying to say? Do women have to stay calm? Can't show emotions? I'm confused.
The score: 7
The bold guy
Rank: # 2 - Peyton Dix, Special Projects Editor
The Gist: This show is a glorified version of the women's media with a big budget and bigger dreams.
The Lead (s): Kat Edison (Aisha Dee), social media editor; Jane Sloan (Katie Stevens), writer; and Sutton Brady (Meghann Fahy), Fashion Editor - but today we're focusing on Kat.
The love interests: Adena El-Amin (Nikhol Boosheri), a photographer.
The magazine: scarlet
The Review: Kat Edison of The Bold Type is an important reminder that black, queer people are the best on social media. It's just a fact, I don't make rules! Sure, some of her tweets could stay in the drafts, but no one could work in a boardroom, blazer, or lesbian bar (alongside her current girlfriend and all of her exes!) Like her. I never know how she has the bandwidth to be that much ooo, but she uses her time wisely. Whether she's posting pictures of nipples to break down patriarchy, hanging out with different women, or holding onto a man, she keeps it interesting! The Bold Type - and Kat in particular - is cheesy and contemporary and messy, which is exactly why you should check it out now. It's a good look at women's media ... but on a budget.
Is it realistic 7/10 - About this budget ...
Are your colleagues even realistic? 8/10 - They're white and horny, so pretty realistic. Joan is tearful and Sutton is paramount.
Does it at least make us look good / cool? 7/10 - I wish I had as much time to be OOO as Kat. She's also a strong argument for bisexuals who usually have a bad rap.
Is the character at least likeable? 8/10 - She's my favorite, but the writer's room knows where they went wrong with her ...
Are the outfits good? 3/10 - It's tough. You're in New York girl keep it up
Would we date with the love interest? 10/10 - Personally, as a queer head of social with a hot creative / photographic friend, I have to say yes.
How bad is the fake magazine title? 10/10 - scarlet. SCARLET. Let's just sit by what we've heard ...
The score: 7.6
Ugly Betty
Rank: # 1 - Justine Del Guadio, Senior Video Producer
The Gist: This TV show has heart and humor and sometimes murder.
The main role: Betty Suarez (America Ferrera).
The love interests: Henry, Gio and Matt.
The magazine: Modus
The review: Ugly Betty does a great job showing off her struggles as a woman of color, struggling from paycheck to paycheck, navigating complex publishing bureau politics and the occasional romantic topic.
Is it realistic 7/10 - The show is inspired by a telenovela, so there are some highly unrealistic subplots. Give a 7 for great cameos from Posh Spice herself and Lindsay Lohan!
Are your colleagues even realistic? 8/10 - This show borrows directly from many of the stereotypes you'd expect in a magazine - some of which are over the top yet delicious, like Vanessa Williams as the vicious, time-and-time, off-time editor-in-chief. However, since it's not a movie, the characters have the time and space to redeem themselves ... and so do most of them.
Does it at least make us look good / cool? 8/10 - Ugly Betty certainly represents an era of magazine publishing that is long gone but had some glitz and glamor that is great fun to dream of! Like a city car ride home!
Is the character at least likeable? 9/10 - Betty is one of my favorite characters on the TV show. It grows, develops, and comes around over the four seasons of the show and we love to see it! Even so, she sometimes has to work on judging her loved ones a bit.
Are the outfits good? 10/10 - I have two words for you: Patricia Field. There's so much fashion in Ugly Betty. Because of the show's title, Betty's outfit choices are a source of criticism, but I think her vibrant personality always shines through. I think the show does an incredible job of what Patricia Field is best known for: finding incredible outfits that portray all characters very specifically and uniquely.
Would we date with the love interest? 10/10 - There were many love interests throughout the show. In this house we send Betty and Gio. They had amazing chemistry, but they could never seem that it worked - but that's fine, more to me.
How bad is the fake magazine title? 10/10 mode !!! You. It pretty much rhymes with the other. I can not.
The score: 8.8

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