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MAID IN MANHATTAN

A patrician Republican senatorial candidate falls hard for the ravishing Puerto Rican chambermaid he has mistaken for a socialite.


CAST: Jennifer Lopez, Ralph Fiennes, Natasha Richardson, Stanley Tucci, Tyler Garcia Posey, Frances Conroy, Chris Eigeman, Marissa Matrone, Amy Sedaris, Priscilla Lopez, Bob Hoskins

DIRECTOR: Wayne Wang

"This graceless variation on ‘Pretty Woman’ and ‘Working Girl’ cannot emphasize thumpingly enough that in America, lowborn circumstances are no impediment to bettering oneself--and, simultaneously, to bagging a prince. Especially if one is Jennifer Lopez. There's an oversize Cinderella-slipper problem here, though, and it belongs to the prince. Or, more specifically, to a wan and watery Ralph Fiennes, desperately miscast as a supposedly dashing Senate candidate who doesn't realize that the couture-clad pretty woman who dazzles him at first sight is a maid… no maid, and no fancy lady either, would swoon for a fellow as damp as the hero so grudgingly coughed up by Fiennes. In the words of Cinderellas everywhere, no effin' way." --Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly

"… a skillful, glossy, formula picture, given life by the appeal of its stars… Prince Charming of course falls instantly in love with Cinderella, who must race back to the hotel and resume her life of scrubbing and bed-making…There's a little spunk in the movie. Marisa tells Marshall what's wrong with his ideas about housing and poverty. He's teachable. Marisa attends a charity benefit looking gorgeous in a dress borrowed by the hotel boutique and wearing Harry Winston diamonds supplied, no doubt, in return for the plug. And when she runs away from the ball and he follows her, well, it worked in ‘Cinderella’ and it works here, too." --Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

" Ms. Lopez has some of the forthright magnetism of an old-time movie star…You would have to go back to Claudette Colbert or the young Lauren Bacall to find an actress capable of projecting so much erotic self-confidence in a single gaze… even when Marisa suffers inevitable humiliations and reversals of fortune, Ms. Lopez retains a suave, straight-backed dignity that makes her a credible feminist heroine as well as a bona fide sex symbol. Unfortunately, her charisma is hampered by the blandness and banality of the movie itself, which squanders nearly every comic opportunity its urban Cinderella premise provides…In general the picture is so committed to inoffensiveness and to hammering home its uplifting, bootstrap message that it lacks the necessary element of malice." --A.O. Scott, The New York Times

"As formulaic, predictable and comforting as a McDonald's hot apple pie, it's about as nourishing and disposable. And it's missing that crucial ingredient of super-charged chemistry between its romantic leads. But Lopez is nothing if not appealing as a streetwise Cinderella who gets a healthy dose of self-esteem along with the tiara… her genuine, unaffected sensuality assures that ‘Maid in Manhattan’ is always watchable, if not the least bit credible." --Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post

"If his stateside accent here is wobbly, Fiennes does his best to convince us that he cares about this claptrap. Anyway, his character can afford to be blurry. Does anyone ever care what Prince Charming is really like? It's Lopez who's the proper focus of this dream. So intent has she been on becoming a superstar in the past few years that many people have forgotten that, given decent material, she can act. Marisa Ventura is a pro forma, salt-of-the-earth ugly duckling role, but Lopez inhabits her with conviction, and she gives the smarter lines of dialogue the spin they need to keep the momentum going…It says something about the success of ‘Maid’ as a lovably old-school Hollywood confection that it plays a lot more believably than anything in Jennifer Lopez's actual romantic life." --Ty Burr, The Boston Globe

"He's no Ben Affleck, but Fiennes successfully defies his reputation as the gloomiest leading man in the business and drips effortless charm as Christopher Marshall, an upstate assemblyman who's smitten by Marisa Ventura (Lopez), a maid at the fancy Manhattan hotel where he's staying…This is not the movie for hard-hearted realists bothered by the idea that an assemblyman's dates would be front-page news in the tabloids, even on a slow news day--or that a Senate candidate like Christopher would seem so utterly disinterested in politics…It is, however, just the ticket for anyone who delights in the idea of a spunky, single Latina mom from The Bronx who works her way into management and snags a millionaire." --Lou Lumenick, The New York Post

"If there were more chemistry between stars Jennifer Lopez and Ralph Fiennes, it would be one of the season's more refreshing surprises. As it stands, it's a diverting trifle that will amuse you while it's on the screen, then fade from memory while the final credits roll…a pleasant experience, if not the dazzling entertainment Lopez fans were hoping for." --David Sterritt, The Christian Science Monitor