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Maid In Manhattan

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Maid In Manhattan

Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Ralph Fiennes
Director: Wayne Wang
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 95 Minutes
Release Date: December 2002
Genre: Romance

*Also starring: Bob Hoskins, Natasha Richardson, Stanley Tucci, Marissa Matro

Review by Susan Granger
2½ stars out of 4

If you love romantic comedies, this is glossy, gift-wrapped and ready for the holiday season. The working-class Cinderella story begins in the Bronx, where good-hearted single mother Marisa Ventura (Jennifer Lopez) lives with her precocious young son (Tyler Garcia Posey). Marisa works as a maid at the posh Beresford Hotel, where the staff motto is "Strive to be invisible." But Marisa's cloak of invisibility quickly vanishes, along with her ambitions of being promoted to manager, when she dons an expensive white Dolce & Gabbana outfit on loan to a socialite guest, Caroline Lane (Natasha Richardson), and catches the eye of a playboy Senatorial candidate Chris Marshall (Ralph Fiennes). It's mistaken-identity love-at-first-sight as they trot off with his Weimaraner named Rufus on a stroll in Central Park. What's missing, unfortunately, is clever and witty dialogue, since Kevin Wade's screenplay, based on a story by Edmond Dantes, is strictly pedestrian and plot-propelled with several highly improbable scenes (a "loaner" Harry Winston diamond necklace entrusted to a 10 year-old? I think not.) and an ending borrowed from "Notting Hill." Since this is obviously a star-vehicle for Jennifer Lopez, director Wayne Wang concentrates on the dazzling pop diva, leaving humorless Ralph Fiennes ("The English Patient," "Red Dragon") to flounder in an unaccustomed comedic role and Natasha Richardson to snobby silliness. In supporting parts, Bob Hoskins and Stanley Tucci deliver their usual excellence, and irresistible moppet Tyler Garcia Posey steals every scene he's in. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Maid in Manhattan" is a contrived yet engaging 6. Love may transcend social class and ethnicity but the necessary chemistry between Jennifer Lopez and Ralph Fiennes never clicks.

Copyright 2002 Susan Granger

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