Maid in Manhattan

"Good"

Maid in Manhattan Review


It wouldn't be the holiday season without fairy tales starring the likes of Santa, Rudolph, or Frosty. This season also finds a small Cinderella story thrown into the jolly mix. Instead of being an ugly stepsister though, this Cinderella spin-off is about a maid, played by the beautiful Jennifer Lopez. And as all fairy tales are pure fiction, Maid in Manhattan certainly fits the bill.

Lopez is Marisa Ventura, a divorced mom forced to raise her young son Ty (Tyler Posey) on her salary as a maid for a ritzy Manhattan hotel. Each day, she drops Ty off at school and travels by subway from the Bronx to work where she arrives just in time for the morning briefing on the glamorous guests the maids will serve that day. These guests include the newly single socialite Caroline Sincaire (Natasha Richardson), who has come to the hotel to sulk, and New York Assemblyman Chris Marshall (Ralph Fiennes) who is there to prepare for his upcoming campaign for Senator.

When Ty clams up on a speech to his classmates on the U.S. Presidents, Marisa pulls him from school and takes him to work with her. While bumming around the hotel, he runs into Chris and his rigid campaign manager, Jerry (Stanley Tucci), as they walk Chris's dog. The Assemblyman is impressed with Ty's knowledge of politics and invites the young boy to go with them on their walk. Here's where the fantasy comes in: I ask you, when does a politician have time for a non-voter? Ty returns to the suite Marisa is cleaning to ask permission to go for a walk with the men and finds her trying on Caroline's expensive clothing. Chris, whose recent celebrity breakup is all over the tabloids, instantly falls in love with the disguised Marisa.

The remainder of what follows in Maid in Manhattan finds the two mismatched lovebirds dodging obstacles that could interfere with their budding romance. Marisa must conceal her real identity from Chris because she feels he wouldn't want to be with a Latina maid. She must also hide her feelings for the Assemblyman from her employer, which could jeopardize her chances at a management position. Chris must evade the paparazzi looking for a story on his new romance; in addition, he has to fend off the advances of Caroline who thinks Chris's affection is actually for her.

Maid in Manhattan has many faults. First, it raises issues of class divisions between Latinos and Anglos as one would expect, but none of these ideas lead to a significant message or meaning. Second, the conditions necessary for Chris and Marisa to meet are manipulated beyond comprehension. After all, had Ty gone to school the day after his speech, instead of going with her to work, there would have been no chance meeting with Chris. Finally, there is little chemistry between the two actors, which makes their obligatory sex scene seem forced and completely unnecessary. Is this what intelligent audiences expect?

Notwithstanding its predictability, necessary contrivances, and other faults, it's the smaller touches that make Maid in Manhattan feel all warm and fuzzy. For starters, despite any stereotypes on housecleaners, and to my surprise, Lopez is quite endearing as Marisa. Her scenes with Ty have genuine warmth as she comforts him after his speech, checks over his homework, or helps him get ready for school. Like Lopez, Fiennes is an excellent match as the stoic politician who walks a tight balancing act between what is right for his career and what he feels in his heart. And, as Ty, Posey steals every scene he is in with his quick wit, book smarts, and mischievous smile.

Maid in Manhattan is the kind of cute, heartwarming holiday entertainment we have come to expect this time of year. While it's not perfect, the faults are easily overlooked by the spirited performances of its cast. Like all holiday fables told before it, this film will find a soft spot in the hearts of festive moviegoers.

Do not disturb, do not disturb!



Maid in Manhattan

Facts and Figures

Run time: 105 mins

In Theaters: Friday 13th December 2002

Box Office USA: $93.8M

Box Office Worldwide: $154.9M

Budget: $55M

Distributed by: Columbia Pictures

Production compaines: Hughes Entertainment, Revolution Studios, Shoelace Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 39%
Fresh: 57 Rotten: 88

IMDB: 4.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Marisa Ventura, as Christopher Marshall, as Caroline Lane, as Jerry Siegel, as Ty Ventura, as Lionel Bloch, as Lily Kim, Lisa Roberts Gillan as Cora, as John Bextrum, as Paula Burns

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.