Why we're falling for Brooke Elliott

By Lesley Savage
Updated May 27, 2010 at 04:00 AM EDT

1. She makes an absurd concept work.
The premise for the Lifetime series is kind of ridiculous: A skinny, vapid model named Deb dies and comes back in the body of a “plus-size,” brilliant lawyer named Jane. But it works — and for that, credit 32-year-old Brooke Elliott. The former Broadway actress offers a fresh and engaging take on this fish-out-of-water character. Whether she’s flitting around with her best friend, flipping her hair like she’s on the runway, or spitting out one-liners that rival those of comedian Margaret Cho (who plays Jane’s assistant), Elliott’s comic timing is spot-on. But she can also force a tear and deliver a sharp closing argument — despite the fact that she’s not exactly a scholar of the Supreme Court. “I was going to do a lot of research on being a lawyer and I decided not to,” says Elliott. “Deb doesn’t know how to be a lawyer, so I decided to kind of let that go and see what we get not knowing what’s going on.”

2. She gives new meaning to the term multiple personalities
Switching between the personas of an ace attorney and a ditzy model, Elliott manages to play a host of contradictions — insecure and confident, sincere and sarcastic, flighty and brainy — without coming off as manic. Not that conjuring up all those emotions doesn’t take some work. “Sometimes it’s like, ’Wait, what am I doing here?’ ” laughs Elliott. “Is this Jane or is this Deb right now?”

3. She eats her cake, too
With the many weight-loss shows on the air now, it’s refreshing to see a heavier heroine who’s not bemoaning her waistline. “She’s realizing that this body wants different things and that the body is going to behave differently,” says Elliott of Deb’s new curvy figure — and newfound craving for doughnuts. “She doesn’t have to be a size 0…. She finds all these amazing things about Jane’s life and Jane’s body, and that’s a fun realization to her.” We’re certainly eating up every moment of it.