In the movie Last Action Hero, a young boy finds himself thrust into the movie world of his favorite action character. He spends time trying to explain it’s a movie world by pointing out how all the folks at a mall are way too attractive for real life jobs. It’s well known that Hollywood has an affinity for casting women much hotter than their roles should be. How many times has a romantic comedy presented a “plain” woman who’s the hottest person in the cast? Or a “geek” character who’s a stunning beauty with glasses? It’s a common thing, you see it all the time in movies and TV and some women are able to use it well. After all, some real jobs can have beautiful women in them and looking great so it’s not too over the top to accept it on film. However, in other cases, you can tell the casting it just way too much. Take how just about every female computer hacker or lab tech is presented like she just walked off a catwalk. It happens a lot but still notable how some ladies can be cast on looks even if not right for the part.
It comes to ladies who are meant to be in low-level jobs yet manage to make them look stunning. Whether in dramas, action films, romances or such, women just can’t help but look great at their work. That goes for TV as quite a few shows push gorgeous lead actresses often in “dead end” jobs. There are slews of examples but some just stand out so much bigger than the rest. Here 15 actresses from movies and TV way too hot for the jobs they played on screen and how Hollywood can make things look a bit unrealistic.
15 Olivia Munn - The Newsroom
To be fair, having a very attractive woman as a newscaster isn’t anything new. But trying to sell Olivia Munn as a brilliant financial expert is a bit much. The actress grew to fame hosting the geek series Attack of the Show which included her in a variety of sexy outfits and wild antics. She got attention for a topless scene in Magic Mike and that led to her casting in The Newsroom. Aaron Sorkin’s HBO series was meant to be a look at the backstage goings-on of a TV news show.
However (as often happens with him) Sorkin seemed to turn the series into a soapbox on his own issues with media, politics and culture. Munn played Sloan Sabbith, an economist with two PhDs and as smart as Munn can be, buying her as this genius was a bit much. Not helping was her character shown to be a mess socially, amazing hot but often acting unprofessional. The series had a mixed reaction in three seasons and while Munn is great with geeky antics, buying her as an economics whiz is a bit too fantastic.
14 Denise Richards - The World Is Not Enough
The idea of Denise Richards as a Bond Girl makes total sense. In 1999, the actress was coming off the cult movie Wild Things that showed off her great body and pushed with her fantastic manner. So casting her in a major role in the film The World Is Not Enough was fine. Her name of Christmas Jones was a bit wild but then, that’s to be expected for a Bond flick. But making her a…nuclear physicist? The very idea was laughable, more so as Richards stripped to a tank top and shorts in the middle of a desert.
Trying to present this young woman as an absolute genius was absolutely crazy and more than a few critics noted how her performance sucked the life out of the film. She did her best with stuff such as a thrilling sequence of she and Bond trying to defuse a bomb on a running train but Richards was clearly woefully miscast. She looked far better in a hot dress and the finale than trying to sell herself as a scientist and while she may one of the hotter Bond Girls, totally unfit for her job.
13 Jennifer Lopez - The Wedding Planner & Maid In Manhattan
Both these romantic comedies had a nice hook to them. In the first, a woman is a top-notch wedding planner, excellent getting couple together but unable to land a guy on her own. She ends up falling for a guy only to find out he’s the groom-to-be for her next wedding. In the latter film, a maid at a posh hotel puts on a nice outfit of a guest and mistaken for a rich girl by a handsome bachelor. But what mars each role is the woman playing them: Jennifer Lopez.
To ask audiences to buy that one of the single hottest women on the planet can be unlucky in love is one thing. Her Planner character openly talks about how she can’t find the right guy which is crazy given she’s sexier than any of the brides she works for. As for Maid, you can put Lopez in a burlap sack and she’d look fantastic so having her in a maid’s uniform does nothing to hide her beauty. Each film was a hit but it’s still way too much to accept J’Lo as a low-level employee ignored on her job.
12 Katherine Heigl - Grey’s Anatomy
To be fair, they made it a plot point. When Grey’s Anatomy premiered, even ABC never expected it to become such a major hit. Among the various faces was Katherine Heigl, best known for her role on Roswell but not too much else. From the start, it seemed off this absolutely gorgeous blonde was a surgical intern, looking way too attractive to be handling such grisly stuff. The show noted it by revealing that Izzie Stevens had once been “Bethany Whisper,” a high-priced lingerie model. She’s mocked for it but smugly pointing out that thanks to her modelling work, she’s completely paid off on her medical school bills while her fellow doctors will be in debt for years. Still, seeing a woman looking like a gorgeous young model as a top-notch surgeon was a wild sight. Heigl is the one member of the Grey’s cast to win an Emmy and while her antics got her written off the show, she did spark it up big time in sexy antics.
11 Angelina Jolie - The Bone Collector
You can do an entire separate list for actresses way too hot to play police officers in movies and TV. But you have to cite a special example for Angelina Jolie. In 1999, the actress was breaking out big time with her talent, her wild looks, and affinity for tattoos and bearing all on screen and about to win the Oscar for Girl Interrupted. So casting her as a low-level New York patrolwoman was a wild turn. In the film, Jolie’s character stumbles on the clues of a serial killer plaguing New York. This catches the attention of a forensics expert (Denzel Washington) who’s paralyzed in bed. Together, they work the case so you have Jolie going from just a uniform to jeans and leather shirt and putting on a professional air. The issue is that it’s still a young Angelina Jolie and there’s absolutely no way you can restrain her sexual aura no matter how she’s dressed or presented. She may be hot with spies and such but trying to have Jolie a low-level cop is hard to believe.
10 Jennifer Aniston - Horrible Bosses
Jennifer Aniston's career is often based on looking way too hot for her roles. On Friends, her rich gal Rachel gets a job at a coffee shop and clearly looking amazingly sexy in the role that made her a star. Even as Rachel rises up an executive at a department store, she looks a bit too glamorous for it. Likewise, Office Space had her as a waitress too hot for the part. There was here as a reporter in The Bounty Hunter and an office manager in Just Go With It.
But the topper has to be Horrible Bosses. In this wild comedy, Aniston plays a dentist, hardly a job you associate with amazingly sexy women. But in her case, she goes all out, including a scene of her walking around the office with an unbuttoned shirt and no bra as she basically takes advantage of patients under gas. It plays up her hot style and makes the film stand out but still shows how Aniston is way too sexy for any job she has on screen.
9 Kaley Cuoco - The Big Bang Theory
From the start, The Big Bang Theory was centered on the idea of a bunch of goofy nerds who are genius at science completely unable to take their hot new neighbor. Kaley Cuoco was well cast as Penny, looking sensational in the part and no qualms often walking around half naked. Her job at the Cheescake Factory had her pushing the uniform big time, far too attractive and even noted on the show how she looked way sexier than she deserved. After a failed shot at acting, Penny soon landed a job as a pharmaceutical rep, which meant she now wore business suits which flaunted her legs. Again, she just looked way too hot and sexy in the role and while it led to plenty of laughs on the show, it also made it harder to buy her as a professional woman. Cuoco is smoking hot but trying to get her as a professional job or even a waitress is one theory hard to accept.
8 Megan Fox - New Girl
Megan Fox is one of those women who can look hot just reading the phone book. So it’s no surprise that trying to buy her as a professional woman was a bit much. In season 5 of New Girl, Zooey Deschanel became pregnant and a baby didn’t quite fit the nutty series. So they wrote Jess off for a bit by having to do jury duty for a big trial and staying at a hotel. Meanwhile, the guys got a new roommate in the form of Regan, a hotshot pharmaceutical sales rep who rents out Jess’ room while she’s out.
Naturally, the guys are thrown at this knockout lady with a preference for shorts and tight shirts showing up and ogling her doing yoga and such. While Fox is often mocked for her lack of acting talent, she showed great comedic chops in the role with witty banter and she and Nick soon in a relationship. However, hot as she is, it’s just hard to buy Fox as a top saleswoman for a drug company given her amazing sexual heat. Fox was great but there’s only one thing folks can buy her selling.
7 Eliza Dushku - Tru Calling
The gorgeous brunette Eliza Dushku exuded sexual aura in spades. She used that for her role as the wicked Slayer Faith in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel and scored as a cheerleader in Bring It On. There were plans for a Faith spin-off but Dushku wanted to get another role. In this cult Fox series, she played the title part of Tru Davies, a medical student who falls behind on her payments. She’s thus forced to take a job working in the morgue and clearly looking way too attractive for it. Of course, there’s a twist as every now and then, a corpse will suddenly whisper “help me.” Tru is then sent back in time to the previous day and has to stop the death from happening.
Dushku did well in it (one episode has Tru going undercover at a beauty pageant) but it was still something to have this very sexy lady in jeans and tank tops working on bodies and then going around in time to save them. Dushku brought the same “too hot for the job” style to her role as an FBI agent on Banshee and how she can be too sexy to handle.
6 Kat Dennings And Beth Behrs - 2 Broke Girls
With all respect to the place, a Brooklyn diner is not where you’d expect to find two truly knockout beauties. That was the push of this recently axed CBS sitcom. In the case of Beth Behrs, it’s understandable. Caroline was a former trust fund princess who lost everything when her father was busted for a Ponzi scheme and still clings to her upper-class life. Still, it’s a bit off that this lovely long-legged blonde with pearl necklace is working at a crappy diner.
Then there’s Kat Dennings as Max. She’s supposed to be a rough and tumble gal but Dennings looks hot as hell with a nice chest and always with good makeup and great hair. This is wilder given how a running gag is the girls talking about their horrible apartment having no working shower and lack of beauty items. There’s also how Max is frank on constant drinking and drug use yet looks like a supermodel. The fact that these girls were rich in beauty made this show more of a comedy than intended.
5 Michelle Pfeiffer - Frankie & Johnny
Now here’s a fun story. Frankie & Johnny had been a successful Broadway play, featuring Kathy Bates as Frankie, a waitress in a small diner. The story has her a bit unloved but soon falling for her chef co-worker as they go on a nice romance. With the play a hit, a movie version was to follow but the studio thought Bates was too unattractive for the role. So they gave it to Michelle Pfeiffer despite how the part is meant to be a woman unattractive and often ignored. Trying to sell the ultra-glamorous Pfeiffer as a low-level waitress is one thing but talk on her not being that attractive is just crazy as she looks a total knockout which mars the romance plot with Al Pacino. However, Bates ended up getting the last laugh. Not only was the movie a flop but Bates was able to star in Misery, which won her the Oscar. It goes to show that casting a hot lady doesn’t always work for the material.
4 Catherine Bell - JAG
The first season of this military legal drama was on NBC and Catherine Bell was cast in the finale as an old flame of main character Harmon Rabb who was murdered. Bell won the producers over and when the series was picked up by CBS, they decided to add her on as Sarah “Mac” Mackenzie, a Marine and lawyer. From the beginning, it was something to see this incredibly beautiful woman rocking that uniform and looking top notch like a model in the courtroom. It got bigger with stuff like Mac at a beach flaunting a stunning bikini body and later taking part in more action-oriented missions. Bell carried it all well over the series’ long run to make it a major hit. She went on to play a housewife turned nurse on Army Wives and currently a shop owner on The Good Witch. But this role is her most famous for a lady who looked more likely to be in a magazine spread and tough not to imagine her out of uniform.
3 Kate Winslet And Cameron Diaz - The Holiday
It’s long been noted that the key problem of putting Kate Winslet in a low-key job on screen is because it’s almost impossible to make one of the sexiest women alive look downtrodden. Even with roles in The Reader and Little Children, attempts to make her look unattractive failed miserably. So it should be no surprise that in this comedy hit, Winslet looks way too hot for her job. In her case, she’s a columnist for a London newspaper long in love with a co-worker but he cheats on her. To repeat: Kate Winslet is presented as someone a man can ignore at a newspaper office for three years.
At least she’s not alone as the movie also has Cameron Diaz as a workaholic with no time for any man despite how she looks so amazingly hot at her job. The two women switch their homes for a bit and each meets a new guy but still hard to imagine not one but two gorgeous ladies presented as office gals who have a hard time finding the right guy.
2 Stephanie March - Law & Order: SVU
For its first season, SVU focused mostly on the cops solving sexual-based crimes. In the second season, they decided to get into the “Order” part of the franchise by looking at the prosecution of these crimes. Enter Alex Cabot, the ADA handling their cases, a tough woman, very smart and on the ball helping them shine. But casting Stephanie March in the part was more than a little jarring. Whereas Mariska Hargitay had played down her feminine charms for her role on the show, March went all out, her blonde hair loose and long and glasses only emphasizing her incredible beauty. Even in professional suits, she looked like a runway model as she prosecuted scumbags and bent the rules to get a conviction. She was shot by a drug lord and spent years in witness protection before returning to the show and while there have been a few ADAs since, none looked as glamorous as Cabot on the job.
1 Jeri Ryan - Boston Public
David E. Kelly’s series focused on a Boston high school where the teachers had to handle the various antics of teaching rough kids. In the second season, to try and spark up ratings, the show added Jeri Ryan to the cast. The actress had just finished her famed run as the sexy Seven of Nine on Star Trek Voyager and thus brought a nice spark to the series. She played Ronnie Cooke, a former corporate lawyer who decided to get into teaching. From the start, the amazingly gorgeous blonde as a teacher was a bit much and the show did poke fun with a few students noting how they were far more interested in her classes thanks to her. Ronnie had a rough edge (once organizing students to sue another teacher for his treatment of them) and rubbed folks the wrong way. But she rose up to become Vince-Principal and even in slacks and light shirts, Ryan was a true beauty. Still, buying her as a lawyer turned teacher was a wild turn even for a creator known for showing hot ladies off.