Our 2000s rom-com queens only had one goal in mind when it came to their careers: become a Serious Journalist.
As someone who routinely writes about frivolous things, I roll my eyes soooo hard every time one of these characters whines about being passed up for covering the Big Issues. I’m like, I will happily write speculation about Kylie Jenner’s butt implants for the rest of my life.
Despite their inherent girlboss nature, most of these women’s professional ambitions end up severely sidetracked by guys named Ben who they have crushes on, so it’s time to decide once and for all who has what it takes to work in this town and who should’ve taken advantage of the 2011 media landscape to become a famous mommy blogger instead.
10. Amber Moore from A Christmas Prince
Amber Moore gets plucked out of bullpen obscurity at a fashion magazine when she’s given the opportunity to fly to Aldovia and report on playboy Prince Richard, who’s returned home to take over the throne from his late father.
Amber does one better, becoming enmeshed with the royal family when she poses as their young princess’s tutor, granting her unfettered access to Richard.
After obvi falling in love with the prince, she writes a delightful profile, but omits the exclusive adoption papers bombshell she stumbled upon in the castle because of her personal feelings. Honestly, probably not a bad move strategically if she thinks there’s a chance Rich will marry her, so she can ditch this dingy 9-5 and kick it in Aldovia full-time.
Her boss Kim is understandably pissed, and refuses to publish the piece altogether because “puff pieces” are “not our brand.” Kind of crazy coming from an editorial director who unironically uses the phrase “his royal hotness.” What was she expecting, a dissertation on the bylaws of abdication and their geopolitical impact? Like, is this Politico?
Amber takes her story indie, starting a shitty WordPress creatively titled “Amber’s Blog.” She does zero marketing, so her should-be explosive piece only garners 20,000 likes, which is basically the equivalent of what that girl Evelyn racks up in 2 hours with a 30-second TikTok about things that annoy her at middle school.
9. Abby Richter from The Ugly Truth
Abby is a producer / on-air talent (?) for a morning news show that’s underperforming, leading her network to hire her Joe Rogan-esque nemesis Mike, a self-proclaimed sex and relationships expert, to spice up their program.
Naturally, she and Mike fall into the enemies-to-lovers trope, causing the sexual tension between them to lead to. . .unsightly behavior. During a remote at a hot air balloon festival, Abby launches into an off-script tirade about her hatred of men. She starts airing her network’s dirty laundry surrounding Mike’s departure to a rival show, while the control room looks on in horror and a producer nervously assures the top boss that they’re doing “an Andy Kaufman” bit.
This peak unprofessionalism only gets worse when Mike joins her in the balloon to fight about their personal grievances toward one another, prompting Abby to start making lewd jerking off motion to the camera. All semblance of decorum has left the building. Then they make out!
8. Amy Townsend from Trainwreck
Amy is a party girl columnist at S’Nuff, a magazine dedicated to “teaching the strong-willed man how to dress, think, eat, and fuck” targeted toward a core demo of “every-fucking-one” (an answer that will get you yeeted off the set of Shark Tank in three seconds flat).
She gets assigned a profile on Aaron Conners, an up-and-coming sports doctor, despite the fact that hating sports is a core tenet of her personality (kind of like a reverse pick-me?).
Amy shows up to her introductory conversation with Aaron having done no research and makes the mistake of confessing to him that she knows nothing about his industry and is only writing the piece because she was told to. A great tactic to make your source comfortable and excited to work with you!
Amy might be a decent writer, but that’s kind of superseded by the fact that she almost hooked up with S’Nuff’s 16-year-old intern before his mom calls in the middle of their rendezvous, revealing that he’s a minor. Amy gets fired (FAIR!) and sells her Dr. Aaron piece to Vanity Fair, which really doesn’t seem like the right audience for sports journalism, but sure.
7. Josie Geller from Never Been Kissed
Josie is so desperate to prove herself as a writer that spends months undercover at a high school, attending geometry class and reliving her pubescent trauma. I would have quit on the spot!
However, Josie not only fails to rewrite her own high school history, she also fails at the objective of her entire charade, which is to write a story about the Secret Life of the American Teenager. Almost immediately, a rival newspaper scoops her on a piece about a local hangout where kids are drinking and hooking up, since Josie and her nerdy bestie can’t get past the cool kid bouncer. I recognize that cool teens are scary as hell, but Josie, you’re 25!
The story Josie finally files ends up having nothing to do with the social issues facing teens today, but rather her personal feelings about being an adult virgin and her romantic interest in the guy who was her English teacher. I’m not sure that this is what the Chicago Sun-Times was looking for, but I guess Elite Daily didn’t exist yet.
6. Bridget Jones from Bridget Jones’ Diary
After quitting her job at a publishing house because of her hot yet rude boss, Bridget Jones lucks her way into an on-screen reporter position at Sit Up Britain despite no formal training, which rom-coms will have us believe happens all the time.
While reporting at a local fire station, her producer tells her she needs to slide down the fire pole in a mini skirt (totes apprope), which leads to her unglamorously falling to the ground like a maimed antelope, broadcasting an up-the-skirt ass shot in the process.
Her boss then sends her to the High Court for a Hard-Hitting Piece™ about the extradition of a Kurdish freedom fighter. It’s been dominating the news cycle, but this is the first she’s heard of it, so naturally she’s the woman for the job!
Bridget initially misses her chance to interview the defendant because she was too busy buying cigarettes at a bodega, but thanks to her ongoing flirtations with his lawyer, she magically gets an exclusive sit-down — she squanders the opportunity by asking the most vanilla questions known to man, but we can’t judge her too harshly considering it’s basically her second day.
5. Jenna Rink from 13 Going on 30
Despite barely cracking into the eighth grade, when 13-year-old Jenna Rink finds herself living in her 30-year-old body as a high-powered editor at Poise Magazine, she honestly doesn’t fuck up as much as one would think.
Sure, her meeting behavior is abysmal, and she spends much of the film twiddling her thumbs while her boss pleads with the team to help him boost their floundering sales and outsmart their rivals at Sparkle, but when the rubber meets the road, she pulls one out (kind of!).
Tasked with pioneering a complete rebrand of the magazine, Jenna cobbles together a high school spirit week-inspired mood board (her only frame of reference for meaningful popular culture) and suggests trading supermodels for real women like “your next door neighbor” or “the girls from the soccer team.”
It’s a total 180 from a grownup fashion magazine to a Seventeen copycat, which would require a complete strategy overhaul, abandoning relationships with existing sponsors, and creating marketing plans for an entirely new demographic, but she knocks everyone’s socks off, which is actually a very true-to-life representation of corporate incompetence.
4. Andy Sachs from The Devil Wears Prada
Growing up is realizing that Andy Sachs is the true villain of The Devil Wears Prada! For starters, what business does she have applying for a job at a company she hasn’t heard of? Northwestern Career Services didn’t prepare you for the “why do you want to work here” question? Be for real.
Andy thinks she’s hot shit because she wrote an award-winning story in her college paper about the janitor’s union, but it was so boring that all her friends just texted her “so good!!” without ever actually reading it.
After a dismal start on Runway EIC Miranda Priestly’s desk (she doesn’t know how to spell Gabbana), Andy eventually figures out how to be a great assistant. Securing unpublished Harry Potter manuscripts honestly deserves a Nobel Peace Prize, which is why she’s so far down on this list.
Andy could have had a great career at Runway, but obvi it was beneath her, and she goes on to get her dream job writing about New York state bus driver pensions, or something.
3. Andie Anderson from How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days
What I like about Andie, a columnist at Composure magazine, is that she will literally subject herself to peak levels of embarrassment for the sake of her story: wooing ad executive Ben Barry and manipulating him into dumping her to perpetuate the stereotype that women are needy and men hate it.
Andie sobs like a lunatic at a restaurant crying that her boyfriend thinks she’s fat, has a full-fledged meltdown during his poker night, and, most spectacularly, refers to his dick as Princess Sophia during sex. And mind you, this is all happening off-hours! She’s unlocked a new category of method journalism that might even make Jeremy Strong jealous.
Unlike most of Andie’s counterparts on this list, she actually basically delivers the column she promised, albeit with a different thesis. But she still ends up quitting Composure, because her boss won’t let her write Serious Journalism, and it’s implied that she seamlessly transitions from writing about fall lipstick must-haves to international affairs in Washington.
2. Jules Potter from My Best Friend’s Wedding
There’s not a lot of room at the top when it comes to the NYC food critic scene, and Jules Potter is clearly a HBIC. Her presence at James Beard chef Charlie Trotter’s restaurant has him screaming at his sous-chef, “I will kill your whole family if you don’t get this right!” which is an honor in and of itself.
However, after a single bite of veal, Jules unexpectedly informs the waiter then and there that she’ll be writing up the dish as “innovative and confident.” Great, seems easy enough, can I become a food writer, too, so I can get a table at Misi?
And that’s the last we see of Jules’ career. From that moment on, she takes her sights off of stacked polenta and on to terrorizing her best friend’s fiancè, an equally admirable endeavor.
1. Becky Fuller from Morning Glory
Becky Fuller is the goat of rom-com media moguls! She is like, the Leslie Knope of morning news producers. After getting laid off from her job at a regional news show, she bounces back in record time and secures an EP position at a national station called IBS (lol, this movie came out in 2010 before the rise of hot girls with stomach issues).
Becky single handedly transforms their underperforming morning show from Meghan Trainor depths to Ariana Grande heights. She fires a creepy host who starts his first conversation with her by asking for feet pics, has her weather guy do remotes on roller coasters, and breaks down her cantankerous anchor’s walls enough to get him to lighten up and say the word “fluffy” during a frittata demo, which was a major point of contention between them.
Her biggest flaw is that when she’s finally offered her dream job at The Today Show, she turns it down due to a raging case of Stockholm Syndrome. She also probably drinks from a Marshall’s Rise & Grind mug unironically, but we’ll allow it.