Where Julia Roberts has great success in her box office Cinderella story, 'Pretty Woman', Jennifer Lopez is less than successful. I'm not saying that this is a bad movie---its cute, but its similarity to 'Pretty Woman' is almost text book and too convenient. J-lo is Marisa, a maid in a distinguished Manhattan hotel---she aspires to a management position and is motivated by her colleagues, and her son, Ty a young boy with a penchant for politics. She's got two thorns in her side: a mother who thinks management dreams are a waste of time and an ex-husband (who we don't see) who constantly disappoints Ty with his lack of involvement. Enter Chris, young Anglo assemblyman played wonderfully and optimistically by Ralph Fiennes who when seeing Marisa dressed in a socialite's $5000 outfit assumes she is a guest at the hotel and becomes immediately interested. J-lo keeps the facade going with some disastrous results and some funny moments with Natashia Richardson, as an over eager society woman, Bob Hoskins as the hotel's butler, and Stanely Tucci as Chris' PR man.
What's really wrong the movie is that unlike Gere and Robert's unmistakable likeability and chemistry, Lopez and Fiennes do not seem to match. Fiennes is charming; he plays his part with the same boyish charisma seen in 'Quiz Show'--the audience cannot help but respond. Lopez, on the other hand, is too harried, Fiennes good looks and pleasant mannerisms simply do not seem to effect her---why I can't imagine---perhaps she was too intent on playing Marisa as too burdened by her life as a single mother to actually enjoy the intentions of a fabulously good looking man. Her actions don't match the lack of emotions she fails to convey. She comes across as flat (except for the obvious), Chris's dog has more soul peeking through out of its brown eyes than she does. The young actor who plays Ty is far more engaging but his attachment to Chris seems stretched as does Tucci's desire to utterly control Chris's personal life---in these two cases, the fault lies with the script and not the actors. Sadly, Fiennes is wasted in this film, but kudos to him on a perfect performance with little or no help from the script or his leading lady.
Recommended to those who simply love J-lo (?) AND to all women who love Ralph Fiennes.
To understand why MAID IN MANHATTAN was so wildly popular at the box office when first released in 2002, one must first examine the times in which it first appeared. Less than a year on from September 11th, audiences needed fairytale escapism, and this movie delivered it with an adorable Jennifer Lopez (then riding high on her dual career of actress and chart-topping pop singer) and a whimsical Norah Jones soundtrack. Seven years later, does MAID IN MANHATTAN still hold it's entertaining spell? … more
I was writing another book review when this movie came on TV. When I saw Jennifer Lopez, I started watching and was hooked from the first scene with her little son. I just finished it and must say I truly enjoyed the time spent watching this "feel-good" movie. It was just what the doctor ordered after a two-day stint with the flu. This certainly went well with my recuperative fare of tea and toast. ... lol ... In this movie, Lopez plays--you guessed it!--a maid who works in … more
I don't like pointless chick flix. I am the King of this notion. I would rather sit alone for six hours staring at a pine tree than give an hour and a half-plus to a nightmarish meet-cute. Thankfully, in this very manly reviewers opinion, Maid in Manhattan shines a little. Jennifer Lopez is accredited to acting in one of the grandest modern bombs of our time. The mention of the word sends chills up the spine, but here it goes: Gigli. (Which according to Ebert didn't deserve … more
Pros: Cute boy, Ralph Fiennes, starts to discuss interesting themes Cons: predictable, bland, shallow The Bottom Line: This movie made being a maid look like fun, so it must feature extremely poignant social commentary, right? When my friends and I saw the trailer for Maid in Manhattan, we groaned at the cheesiness of the title and the utter unoriginality of the plot. "Wasn't this movie already made with Julia Roberts in it?" … more
In the breezy Maid in Manhattan, a maid in a top-flight hotel (Jennifer Lopez, Out of Sight, The Wedding Planner) chances to dress in a guest's clothes just when a handsome political candidate (Ralph Fiennes, Schindler's List, Red Dragon) walks in. Naturally, he's bowled over and pursues her; he's initially drawn to her gorgeous good looks but soon comes to appreciate her honesty and common sense. Of course, she can't let him know that she's only a maid, and various high jinks ensue--it's all pretty formulaic, but lurking in the edges of this glossy, brainless romance are a wealth of sly turns by Natasha Richardson and Amy Sedaris (as callow socialites), Bob Hoskins (as a dignified butler), Stanley Tucci (as Fiennes' exasperated campaign manager), and many less familiar faces. All help to give Maid in Manhattan the life and texture that has been processed out of the main characters. -- Bret Fetzer