She wrote and directed the short film Worst Enemy, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012, followed by her 2013 feature film directing debut In a World..., in which she also starred. In 2017 she directed, wrote, co-produced and starred in I Do... Until I Don't.
Bell began her career in 2002 with roles in the film Speakeasy, a film about two men who become unlikely friends after a minor traffic accident, and in 2 episodes of the medical TV drama ER. Her first significant roles came in 2003. After appearing in the psychological thriller I Love Your Work, she was cast alongside Jeff Goldblum as the female lead in the NBC television film War Stories and played Alicia Silverstone's wisecracking best friend, Victoria Carlson, in NBC's comedy-drama series Miss Match. In 2004, Bell appeared in the wrestling film Slammed and made her debut as Sally Heep in the final four episodes of The Practice. Her character was carried over into the spinoff Boston Legal, where she was a regular cast member until she left the series in 2005.
Bell then played the lead role in the science fiction series Surface, which aired between September 2005 and May 2006. 2006 also saw her star in the film Rampage: The Hillside Strangler Murders about the Hillside Strangler of the late 1970s and return to Boston Legal for two episodes, reprising her role as Sally Heep, opposing counsel to Alan Shore (portrayed by James Spader). In 2008, she played the female lead in the thriller Under Still Waters, for which she won the Newport Beach Film Festival Award for Outstanding Performance in Acting, starred alongside Paul Rudd and Eva Longoria in the romantic comedy Over Her Dead Body, played Cameron Diaz's character's best friend in the romantic comedy What Happens in Vegas and played the wife of Colin Farrell's character in crime drama Pride and Glory.
She was also cast as the lead female role, Dr. Cat Black, in Rob Corddry's satirical comedy Childrens Hospital. The fourth season began airing in August 2012 and featured two episodes that were directed by Bell—the season premiere, "The Boy with the Pancakes Tattoo", a parody of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and the ninth episode, "A Kid Walks in to a Hospital".
In 2009, Bell voiced the role of Dana Mercer in the video game Prototype, played Alec Baldwin's wife in the romantic comedy It's Complicated and guest starred in an episode of the fourth season of the series Wainy Days. 2010 saw Bell voice a supporting role in Shrek Forever After, star in the satirical film Burning Palms, guest star in an episode of the second season of the sitcom The League and cast as a lead character in the HBO series How to Make It in America, which aired for two seasons from February 2010 to November 2011. Bell was to play Deputy Judy Hicks in Scream 4, but dropped out four days before filming due to scheduling conflicts, with the role going to Marley Shelton.
In 2011, Bell starred alongside Josh Lucas and Terrence Howard in the supernatural thriller Little Murder, played Ashton Kutcher's boss in the romantic comedy No Strings Attached, a performance that won her critical praise and was called "scene-stealing," starred in the ensemble comedy A Good Old Fashioned Orgy and guest starred in an episode of the first season of New Girl. Bell had a lead role alongside Kate Bosworth in the 2012 thriller Black Rock.
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