Maid in Manhattan Reviews
casting anglican natasha richardson (liam neeson's late wife) as the nymphmaniac rich socialite is a deliberate choice to uglify upper-class woman by portraying them as dim-witted, virtueless, man-hungry and desperate. both richardson and finness are english, and it's like saying we american women or we hispanic american women, are far more attractive so your elite english man prefers us. okay, i just wanna point this out since i find that arrangement of plots un-fair in its portrait of certain social group.
so back to what i'm saying in the beggining, star charisma makes you buy into every unrealistic crap. yeah, this is the case. i actually stayed on my couch and didn't change the channel and watched the whole thing in a pleasant mood. yeah, i'm common. i also anticipate myself to see jennifer lopez appear in one or two really ravishingly elegant gowns, amazed at her crevice and her curvy shapes and her winsome smile. same for ralph fiennes, who seems to be so irrestibly handsome in this movie as cary grant was in those good old days that you would just buy into anything this man tries to sell. (cary grant was also in quite many chic-flicks)..i'm wondering why this movie's irrealistic scenario didn't annoy me just because i'm a sucker for good-looking movie-stars? but i don't like every movie from ralph fienness or jennifer lopez just because of their looks...somehow i figure out the reason why, because their emotions in those actings are genuine under an impossible circumstances, like they're a bunch of dreamers put in a disneyland where they wish to live, yeah, disneyland is counterfeit, but the people in it are real. their sorrows, joys and pities are real, and sometimes you just take mercy at their plights and wish to grant them a chance to visit the disneyland even just for a while. for instance, the scene where jennifer lopez rants her hardship in life being a single mom and a latino woman who wants to feel how it's like to date a white prince charming like fieness, and her ambition to escape from the labour works and evolve herself into the managerment job. her emotions are real and her depictions of hispanic women have a slight truth in it.
but the biggest irony for this type of movies is, the director always casts genteel-looking woman in the role of proletariat woman. audrey hepburn didn't look like a cleaning woman or a petite chauffeur's daughter, right? julia roberts didn't really look like a whore in pretty woman. and the only thing working-class about jennifer lopez may be the fact she's latino just because latinos take lots of works involved with physical labours. come on, see the way she looks in that dress, it's no maid, maid won't have time to work out in the gym to have an ass like that. when it comes to that, why won't prole women protest? it's like those big movie-stars rip off their identity to cash in big money. or they're just busy indulging in the movie's beautified portrait of them?....i guess we all need lies to live on.
Like "Pretty Woman", this is a romantic comedy based upon a "poor girl loves rich man" storyline. The poor girl is Marisa Ventura, a divorcée with a ten-year-old son working as a maid in a smart Manhattan hotel. The rich man is Christopher Marshall, scion of a wealthy family and senatorial candidate staying as a guest in the hotel. Chris is, unexpectedly, a Republican, a detail presumably inserted in a bid to dispel those persistent rumours that Hollywood's main function is to act as the Democratic Party's amen corner. The two meet and are attracted to one another, but, owing to a misunderstanding, Chris believes that Marisa is Caroline Lane, a wealthy British socialite who is another guest at the hotel. Chris invites "Caroline Lane" to lunch, but he is confused when the real Caroline shows up instead of Marisa. Further complications ensue, including the real Caroline taking a fancy to Chris and Marisa losing her job, but this being a rom-com we know that true love will prevail in the end.
Jennifer Lopez has some dreadful films on her CV, especially the badly-written, badly-acted and thoroughly nasty "Enough", and the hilariously bad "Anaconda", a sort of fifties monster movie resurrected for the nineties. (I must admit I have never seen "Gigli", widely quoted as being the nadir of her career; if it is worse than either of those films it must be bad indeed). "Maid in Manhattan", however, is one of her better performances, not least because she enunciates all her lines clearly, something which is not always the case with her, and makes Marisa- hard-working, determined and caring- a very likable heroine.
Rather surprisingly, Ralph Fiennes, who is often at his best playing villainous characters as in "Schindler's List" or "The Duchess", makes an equally likable hero. The rather reserved Chris seems more like an English gentleman than an American politician; there is perhaps a hint that his desire for a seat in the Senate owes more to family tradition than to ideological commitment; both his father and grandfather were Senators before him. The real political animal is his frantically hyperactive spin doctor Jerry (played by Stanley Tucci, who had played a rather similar role the previous year in "America's Sweethearts"). There is an amusing, if somewhat one-dimensional, contribution from Natasha Richardson as the spoilt, bitchy Caroline. The acting honours were stolen, however, by young Tyler Posey, utterly delightful as Marisa's son Ty who plays a key role in bringing his mother and Chris together. Ty is a budding intellectual who has become something of an expert on the 1970s, especially the presidency of Richard Nixon.
I don't think that "Maid in Manhattan" is as good as "Pretty Woman", which had rather more in the way of character development and psychological depth. Garry Marshall's film gained a bit of extra edge by making its heroine a prostitute and its hero a businessman suffering a crisis of conscience about his less-than-ethical business methods. Marisa and Chris, by comparison, are just a bit too nice right from the beginning. Yet the film, as a whole, is an enjoyable one, if not a particularly original one. Besides "Pretty Woman" it also owes a debt to the Audrey Hepburn/Humphrey Bogart "Sabrina" and to countless other films, plays, novels and stories all the way back to "Cinderella" and beyond. Yet this lack of originality does not necessarily matter in a romantic comedy; the genre, after all, is a highly formulaic one which relies upon a few well-worn plots. What matters is the way in which the basic idea is developed, and "Maid in Manhattan" handles its theme with wit and humour. It's not exactly a realistic film either, but then rom-coms were never intended to be exercises in realism. It will provide enjoyable viewing for anyone looking for something romantic and escapist.
Sweet and watchable, but one to watch when it appears on tv, not worth renting or buying.