It’s hard to escape the irony that the release of the new Jennifer Lopez film, Maid In Manhattan in which she plays a New York City hotel maid who finds true love would coincide with the announcement of the actress’ third marriage. If only life imitated art for poor old Lopez.
Lopez stars as Marisa Ventura, a single mother who works in a ritzy mid-town Manhattan hotel. When she tries on a designer dress at the insistence of a co-worker she is scene by Senatorial candidate Christopher Marshall (Ralph Fiennes) who believes she is a guest at the hotel. What follows is a fairly standard romantic comedy version of Cinderella that doesn’t aspire anything to be anything more than an uninspired date movie for teenage girls to drag their boyfriends to in revenge for having to go see Die Another Day the week before.
The script for this is remarkably by the numbers, bringing nothing to this oft-told. Lopez’s performance is serviceable- giving just enough to keep the film moving. We’re supposed to believe that Marisa has a drive to move up the corporate ladder into management, but at no time do we actually see her take any initiative. Even before her first encounter with Marshall, her friend Stephanie (Marissa Matrone) has to needle her into asking if she would be able to apply for a new available management position. Lopez doesn’t really deliver any characterization for her character but that fault probably lies more with the script. More talented actors in the film like Stanley Tucci, Bob Hoskins and Natasha Richardson seem equally adrift trying to bring life to lifelessly written roles. Only Ralph Fines manages to bring a small amount of charm to a blandly scripted part.
Maid In Manhattan is ultimately a B-movie with A-List talent. With Lopez currently releasing a new album and showing up on the cover of numerous magazines, Maid In Manhattan seems more to be just another cog in the Lopez publicity machine than it is an attempt to tell an entertaining story.