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Maid In Manhattan /

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Ralph Fiennes, Natasha Richardson, Di Quon, Kevin Wade 

Directed by: Wayne Wang 

Produced by: Paul Schiff, Deborah Schindler, Elaine Goldsmith, John Hughes, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, Joe Roth, Julia Roberts 

Written by: John Hughes 

Distributor: Columbia Pictures


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    Last week, I witnessed Sandra Bullock as a lawyer in Two Weeks Notice. If she had been convincing in the film, it would have been a whole lot better. I gave it two buckets. I give Maid in Manhattan three. What makes this a better romantic comedy? It has believable actors playing realistic characters. I know that it doesnít tell a story with an incredible amount of likelihood, but it is just convincing enough for us to buy into. Similar to My Big Fat Greek Wedding, as silly and corny as Maid in Manhattan may be; we like watching it. The Cinderella-like story is charming to view, and the characters have fun, and lively spirits.

     Marissa Ventura (Jennifer Lopez) is a hotel maid, who lives with her son, Ty. Her ex-husband, who she is often aggravated by, is constantly abandoning in dates that he and Ty have made. She is sad for the young boy, and feels that there arenít enough opportunities opening up for him. He fails at a speech at school that he had been practicing for, and is very depressed. This gets worse when his father, yet again, breaks a date to go camping with him. Marissa has to work on the same day that the two were going to go into the woods, so Ty must come along to the hotel. He has grown accustomed to staying there when she has nowhere else to take him. Frankly, he is tired of it. After a few hours of playing with puzzles and reading books, he decides to take a spin in the hotel elevator. There, Ty meets someone who makes a great impact on he and his motherís lives.

     In the elevator, he meets Christopher Marshall, a candidate for New York Senator. Ty knows all about Mr. Marshallís voting record, and converses with the politician. He seems to be intrigued with the manís dog, Rufus, as well. Christopher invites Ty to walk with he and Rufus, if his mother will give him permission. The two ride up the elevator to the floor that she is working on. When entering the room that she is supposed to be cleaning, Ty expects to finds her on her hands and knees, scrubbing the floors. Instead, he and Christopher discover that she is prancing around the hotel floor space; wearing a rich hotel guestís outfit. The hopeful senate candidate mistakes her for a hotel guest, and immediately falls in love. He asks her to an expensive dinner party, which leaves her in a sticky situation. She canít tell him that she is really the hotel maid, or he will tell the manager that she was wearing another guestís clothes. How will this issue resolve itself? Who is Mr. Marshall really in love with?

     This is not one of the more memorable romantic comedies to come out in the past five years; but itís an enjoyable one. We know what the outcome is going to be, we know the challenges that the characters are going to face; but the movie makes us smile. There is a respectable, bittersweet edge to Maid in Manhattan that makes it the likable film that it is. There is color in its intentions that shows through in their every move. We like the characters, and feel good about ourselves when they do about themselves. No matter how cheesy and predictable it may be, Maid in Manhattan is hard to resist. It is like our favorite dessert. We love it to death, and will eat it any day, at anytime; even though we know itís unhealthy for us. This film deprives us of a strong sense of filmmaking, but weíll watch its delectable material until we puke.

     Maid in Manhattan isnít, by any means, one of the best movies of the year. But, it might be one of the most enjoyable. Jennifer Lopez is a bad actress, but her character is so innocent here; we simply donít care. This is a movie you just have to watch, and not think about. We know the story is going to end from the beginning, so we arenít affected by developments in the plot. This usually turns out to be a good thing, due to pretentious moments that the casual viewer might not want to watch. There is not one realistic bone in Maid in Manhattanís body, but itís just good. Entertainment is everything in a movie Ė it is ultimately the deciding factor of if a viewer likes the final production or not. This film has a lot of this, and audiences around the world will be pleased. The intentions of Maid in Manhattan are lovable enough, and we frankly, donít need anything else.

-Danny, Bucket Reviews


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