Marisa Ventura is a hard-working, single mother, born and bred in the boroughs of New York City. She works, tirelessly, as a maid in a first-class Manhattan hotel. By a twist of fate and mistaken identity, Marisa meets the confident Christopher Marshall, a handsome heir to a political dynasty, who, by chance, believes that she is a guest at the luxury hotel. Fate steps in and throws the unlikely pair together for one night. When Marisa's true identity is revealed, the two find that they are worlds apart--nonetheless, the distance separating them is just a train ride between Manhattan and the Bronx.
Jennifer Lopez has some of the forthright sexual confidence of an old-time movie star, and the film's premise in a case of mistaken identity, a hotel maid becomes romantically entangled with a rich bachelor harkens back to the studio comedies of the 1930's. Unfortunately, though, Wayne Wang's film lacks the bite and fizz of those pictures: it's neither funny nor giddily romantic enough, in spite of Ms. Lopez's magnetism and the best efforts of some supporting players. Ralph Fiennes, as the wealthy would-be senator (and current New York State assemblyman) who is Ms. Lopez's love interest, seems too meek and fuddled for the part more Ralph Bellamy than Cary Grant. It's hard to imagine his character in bed with an Albany lobbyist, much less Ms. Lopez. A. O. Scott
2002-12-13 | A. O. Scott | Read the New York Times Review of Maid in Manhattan