Maid in Manhattan is the perfect movie for the hopeful romantic who likes a little realism mixed in with the clichés. Although this Cinderella-like romantic comedy has some very predictable moments, many details are presented in such a realistic way that the movie never seems too unbelievable. Realistic touches include Jennifer Lopez playing single mother Marisa, a hotel maid, wearing the same sweater jacket throughout the movie and the eternal messiness of her son's room.
Lopez is excellent in this movie, acting so well she even manages to seem self-conscious and unnoticed. Nervously pushing her hair behind her ear while wearing her not-so-flattering maid outfit, Lopez convincingly steps out of the role of the diva that the world knows her to be and into the role of an ordinary woman trying to pay the bills and raise her son.
Both Lopez's love interest and her son are played by good actors. Chris, a Republican Senate candidate and very much the Prince Charming, has great chemistry with Lopez. Her son, Ty, is adorable and brings comic relief with his political ancedotes for the Republican candidate.
Maid in Manhattan stays close enough to the plot of the Cinderella story to be enchanting, but ventures far enough away from it to be interesting. The ball-like dance is only a small aspect of the story and the role of the fairy godmother is handed off to an unlikely recipient, one of the butlers. He helps Cinderella through the movie, and spells out the moral for her at the end, which that maids serve, but are not servants.
The evil stepmother character is also here, but the wonderful Natasha Richardson only adds more comedy to the story. Unlike the classic Cinderella, the thoroughly modern Lopez has a son and actually gets to know her prince before the dance.
The soundtrack was the perfect complement to this film, ranging from Norah Jones for quieter romantic scenes to Paul Simon for New York skyline scenes. All of these elements come together to make a perfectly wonderful romantic comedy.
Maid in Manhattan (previously The Chambermaid), 105 min., is rated PG-13 for language and sexual references, and opens everywhere on Dec 13. Official site: http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/maidinmanhattan/
Laura Blythe-Goodman. Laura is a senior this year. In her spare time, she learns how to play the guitar and talks to Emma. More »