Jennifer Lopez looks to hang onto her dwindling movie career in Maid in Manhattan, a simple Cinderella story set in modern time. British heartthrob Ralph Fiennes costars as the love interest.
Lopez plays Marisa Ventura, a chambermaid for an upscale hotel who one nice afternoon decides to try on one of the guest's $5,000 outfit. At that exact moment, Chris Marshall (Fiennes, with an American accent), who is running for Senate, walks in and falls in love with her. So, for the rest of the movie, Marisa lurks around trying to hide the fact that she is actually just a maid, while Marshall, being the "idealistic" political candidate that he is, tries to discover why she is resisting her true feelings. Things, of course, end up happily ever after.
To say that a romance comedy is cliché is pretty pointless, since 95% of all romance comedies have the exact same plot, characters and quite often, the same setting. So I won't say that Maid in Manhattan is cliché, even though it is.
Basically, Maid in Manhattan is much better than I expected. It still is overly simplistic, even for romantic comedies, and doesn't have much in the way of jokes or anything that could even qualify as a dramatic moment, but I have seen some incredibly dreadful romantic comedies in my lifetime, and Maid in Manhattan really isn't one of them. It isn't anything special, but that is because it isn't risky; and because it isn't risky, it avoids anything too terrible. The movie's low point is when Lopez yells at her friend in a newfound Latino accent, while moving her head from left to right as if this person killed her child; this scene was laughably bad, but no one ever said to expect much from a Lopez film (look at her latest entries, Enough and Angel Eyes. Those two were much worse than this one).
Though defying expectations, Maid in Manhattan is still nothing to scream about. It's lack of conflict and overused story leave little points of interest, and neither of the two characters really sparkle. The chemistry just isn't there, and the movie is bland because of it.
Maid in Manhattan is one of Jennifer Lopez's better movies, but once of Ralph Fienne's worst. Make of it what you will, but don't expect anything more than harmless fluff that probably will only really appeal to pre-teen girls.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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