MAID IN MANHATTAN is a warmly romantic comedy and a wonderful Christmas gift for
viewers from THE JOY LUCK CLUB's Wayne Wang. Like this summer's BLUE CRUSH,
MAID IN MANHATTAN gives us an inside view of the world of maids in luxury
hotels. This time, however, the lead character, played by America's other
sweetheart, Jennifer Lopez, aspires to be a manager and not a surfing
As über-maid Marisa Ventura, Lopez delivers another one of her charming
performances. Marisa, whose feet are constantly in danger of receiving speeding
tickets, is willing to do anything for the hotel's guests, while never
forgetting the hotel maid's motto, "Strive to be invisible." (An invisible
Jennifer Lopez -- now there's an oxymoron, but I digress.)
The Cinderella story goes into high gear when Marisa lowers her guard for a
minute and commits a small indiscretion. Marisa secretly tries on a gorgeous
white pant suit owned by Caroline (Natasha Richardson), a guest in one of the
hotel's largest suites.
Looking like, well, Jennifer Lopez, the lowly maid Marisa is mistaken for a
glamorous guest by Christopher Marshall (Ralph Fiennes), a handsome politician
staying in a nearby suite. In a classic Hugh Grant role, Fiennes is completely
convincing as someone who is totally love struck.
Since Christopher doesn't suspect who she really is, Marisa lets him believe
that she is Caroline. In no time at all, Marisa, Marisa's adorable 10-year-old
son Ty (Tyler Posey) and Christopher are a threesome. The paparazzi go wild
trying to figure out who the mystery woman is. Marisa and Christopher make a
cute couple and a funny one. When she looks for a magazine to sit on, lest a
public bench stain her all-white outfit, she ends up sitting on his face -- on a
The supporting cast is good but no one is better than Stanley Tucci as Jerry
Siegel, Christopher's control freak of a campaign manager. If a woman so much
as looks at his candidate, Jerry has to know everything about her. Bob Hoskins
delivers another fine job as Lionel Bloch, who has a management position in the
hotel, performing butler-like duties.
When Marisa's carriage is scheduled to be turned back into a pumpkin, she balks
a bit, and then the story gets briefly derailed into a sappy message movie. But
not to fear, Lopez and Fiennes turn on their charm in a contrived but completely
satisfactory ending. You'd probably hate the story if it ended any other way.
MAID IN MANHATTAN runs 1:43. It is rated PG-13 for "some language/sexual
references" and would be acceptable for kids around 7 and up.
Copyright © 2002 Steve Rhodes