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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 Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

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 champion.

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 magazine cover.

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

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