Maid in Manhattan

November 28, 2020 - A case of mistaken identity leads Ralph Fiennes to fall for Jennifer Lopez in this 2002 romcom with socioeconomic overtones. The supporting cast includes Natasha Richardson and Stanley Tucci. John Hughes (yes, THAT John Hughes) gets credit for the story idea.

Lopez plays Marisa Ventura, a single mom who works at a swanky hotel in Manhattan. She's a maid now, but she has aspirations of joining the management ranks. Those dreams go awry when Christopher Marshall (Fiennes) checks in. He comes from a political dynasty and plans to stay at the hotel while he campaigns for state senate. A series of events leads to an encounter between Marisa and Christopher while she's trying on the clothes of another hotel guest (Richardson). So, imagine the hilarity when word gets out that a wealthy politician has fallen in love with a working-class hotel maid.

Overall review: ** You will have to imagine the hilarity because this film isn't really funny at all. The star power of Lopez and company makes the movie watchable even though she has no real chemistry with Fiennes. Where Lopez particularly stands out is in the scenes where she emotes about class and economic standing and how difficult it can be to improve one's circumstances.

The movie came out just before Christmas in 2002. It seems to have been filmed on location in New York, which means that it would have been one of the first movies filmed there after 9/11. The movie, however, makes no mention of what happened. I guess the producers didn't want to "date" the movie – or maybe depress holiday audiences - by working in contemporary references.