Directed by: Wayne Wang
Written by:Kevin Wade
Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Ralph Fiennes, Natasha Richardson, Stanley Tucci, Tyler Posey, Frances Conroy
Released: March 6, 2003
Grade: C+

Been there, done that.  Maid In Manhattan is an easy film to recommend to people.  If you adore romance, like rags-to-riches stories, and love predictable outcomes, this is the film for you.  Otherwise, stay away.  Also note that roughly 90% of the audience in my theatre were female.

Marisa Ventura (Lopez) is a divorced mother with one son, Ty (Posey).  For several years, she’s happily worked as a maid at an exclusive hotel.  There she has formed some valuable friendships who have encouraged her dream of moving into hotel management.  That opportunity arrives when decide to promote someone in-house but Marisa must compete against others interested in the position.

Cleaning out the suite of a wealthy guest, Marisa is asked to return a $5,000 dress on the guest’s behalf.  Before doing so, and encouraged by her friend, she tries the dress on and admires the beauty of it.  At the same time, her son Ty walks in with a man he had met in the elevator – politician Christopher Marshall (Fiennes) who is campaigning for the U.S. senate.  The 10-year-old Ty is interested in politics and asks if he can accompany Chris on a walk in the park with his dog.  But on meeting Marisa, Chris has fallen head-over-heels and asks Marisa to come with them.

The outing is perfect but there’s a problem in Marisa’s eyes.  Chris thinks she’s one of the hotel’s wealthy guests and not a mere housemaid.  Marisa then vanishes off into the sunset but Chris is using his contacts to track her down.  He understands the media is watching him like a hawk but he’s too much in love to let her get away and is willing to risk his political reputation.  Soon enough, all the secrets will be exposed and the two will confront each other to see if a future together awaits…

Mmm, we all know the answer to this question.  If you don’t, then start watching more movies.  Jennifer Lopez puts on her cute and innocent routine and its fine for a while but becomes tiring.  She’s such an unrealistic representation of a woman in that situation.  It makes no sense when you look at one with her looks, her persona and her intelligence.  The supporting cast are very ordinary and the subplots thin and cheesy.  Ralph Fiennes is the only player who impresses and it’s most likely because he’s chosen a role outside his usual range.

At bottom, Maid In Manhattan is a fantasy film crafted to give everyone hope that romance is well and truly alive.  They have their place in cinemas (to cater the audience I described above) but in my critical opinion, the screenplay just doesn’t perform.