Film review: Maid in Manhattan (2002), directed by Wayne Wang
Marisa Ventura (Jennifer Lopez) is a single mother working as a maid in a top New York hotel. One day she’s coerced by a co-worker to try on a guest’s clothes, that she’s been asked to return to the store, and while still dressed like a million dollars she accidentally meets politician Christopher Marshall (Ralph Fiennes), who believes she’s Caroline Lane, a wealthy socialite. She was, after all, in Caroline Lane’s hotel suite.
Marisa and Marshall take a shine to one another, but of course Marisa isn’t a wealthy socialite – she’s a hardworking but poor single mother from the Bronx. A hotel maid. Someone that Marshall wouldn’t look at twice normally.
How can she possibly come clean and still get the guy?
Also starring Natasha Richardson as the real Caroline Lane, Stanley Tucci as Jerry Siegel, Tyler Posey as Ty Ventura, Frances Conroy as Paula Burns, Chris Eigeman as John Bextrum, Marissa Matrone as Stephanie Kehoe, Priscilla Lopez as Veronica Ventura, and Bob Hoskins as Lionel Bloch.
In a way, Maid in Manhattan is a kind of Cinderella story. A maid is transformed into a princess by some new clothes, and the prince duly mistakes her for a princess. Granted, it’s slightly more complicated here, no glass slippers involved and no wicked stepsisters had their feet mauled in the process.
As romantic comedies go this film is definitely romantic. It’s also a more believable premise than something like The Lake House. I quite like J-Lo as an actress, and here she’s paired up with Ralph Fiennes, who’s about a gazillion miles away from He-who-must-not-be-named here.
If you want a film to cosy up to with a cup of tea and a warm blanket on a cold winter night, Maid in Manhattan really isn’t a bad choice. It’s cute, romantic, and has a happy ending. That’s good enough for me.
3.5 out of 5 dogs.