J-Lo Fiennes Romance
I don't mind watching a romantic comedy but for some reason I could never bring myself to watch "Maid in Manhattan", whether it was the belief that it would be a poor imitation of other very good romantic comedies, or that I was not expecting to be dazzled by any great performances, but "Maid in Manhattan" sat on my shelf for months. So when I finally got round to watching it, I was very pleasantly surprised. Not because of an amazing storyline or for the acting, as at times it was rather mediocre. What really surprised me was how enchanting the whole movie was as a complete package, a reasonably decent modern fairytale.
Marissa Ventura (Jennifer Lopez - The Wedding Planner) works hard at dividing her time between being a single mum to her son Ty (Tyler Posey - Collateral Damage) and her job as a house keeper at an upmarket Manhattan hotel. When affluent politician Christopher Marshall (Ralph Fiennes - Quiz Show) spots her wearing one of the hotels guests Dolce & Gabbana gown, he immediately jumps to the conclusion that she too is a guest in the hotel. Completely taken with the beautiful Marissa he makes several attempts to find her despite the fact she is often under his nose working in the hotel.
The basis of the plot to "Maid in Manhattan" is unoriginal and is not that dissimilar to "Pretty Woman", but the way it is worked into a new scenario is enjoyable. Making the central character of Marisa a single mum, allows for there to be a lot more depth and meaning to her emotions, as well as bringing in the character of her young son, who adds a semi-decent sub plot to the movie.
One of the biggest problems which "Maid in Manhattan" has is the lack of any real interaction between the characters of Marisa and Chris, the few scenes where they do interact are very enjoyable, but these in reality are few and far between. But, this allows us to watch the interactions between Marisa and her fellow workers, and Chris and his personal assistant, which both provide plenty of very humorous moments. In reality "Maid in Manhattan" plays more as a subtle comedy, with the romance providing the basis for the film to have a purpose.
I will admit, when I saw that "Maid in Manhattan" starred Jennifer Lopez as Marisa, I was put off, purely because I have not always rated her as an actress. But, although not an outstanding performance, she has gone up in my books, as she was pretty good at playing a single mother who dotes over her son. The character of Marisa is very good in its self, with a lot more depth than you would normally expect, it is not the normal sappy girl type who gets swept off her feet but one who is strong in character and knows what is important to her.
Opposite her is Ralph Fiennes as the political candidate, Chris Marshall, again, not an outstanding performance but still very enjoyable. The character itself is a bit unbelievable, as you would never imagine a senatorial candidate to be so easy going, but it does provide for some very enjoyable scenes as he interacts with both Marisa and her son on a real basis. Which nicely leads me on to Marisa's son Ty, played by Tyler Posey and in my opinion, probably one of the most enjoyable characters in the film? Although the character does not have a massive amount of scenes, the ones he does appear in our very magical, as he tries to pair up his mother with Chris. On top of this you have the likes of Bob Hoskins, Stanley Tucci and Natasha Richardson all putting in solid performances in minor roles.
"Maid in Manhattan" is directed by Wayne Wang, and to be honest he has done a reasonable job, seeing that this would always be compared to the likes of Pretty Woman. Realising that this would never live up to the former, he has switched a lot of the emphasis onto the relationships between everyone, which, as mentioned earlier, moves this more into the realms of a comedy. With that in mind, he has done a great job of making a film which not only works as a date movie, but is also a reasonable family movie. One of the funniest things is the subtle one liners which appear, totally inoffensive to young innocent ears, but hilarious to an older audience, for example, when Marisa is walking in the park with Chris, they go to sit on a bench, and to protect her outfit she goes to sit on a magazine, seeing a picture of Chris on the front, she remarks "Oops, I nearly sat on your face", well it made me laugh.
What this all boils down to is that "Maid in Manhattan" is a pleasantly enjoyable movie. It is by no means a patch on the likes of "Pretty Woman" or "Sleepless in Seattle", but in its own right is a very enjoyable movie which provides numerous moments of humour as well as an enjoyable fairytale story. I doubt it will stand the test of time, and will be lost amongst many collections as new and better movies come along and surpass it.