Saturday, February 10, 2018
MAID IN MANHATTAN (2002)
Directed By: Wayne Wang
Written By: Kevin Wade
Story By: Edmond Dantes (John Hughes)
Cinematography By: Karl Walter Lindenlaub
Editor: Craig McKay
Cast: Jennifer Lopez, Ralph Fiennes, Amy Sedaris, Natasha Richardson, Bob Hoskins, Chris Eigeman, Stanley Tucci, Priscilla Lopez, Tyler Posey, Frances Conroy, Maddie Corman
Marisa Ventura is a single mother born and bred in the boroughs of New York City, who works as a maid in a first-class Manhattan hotel. By a twist of fate and mistaken identity, Marisa meets Christopher Marshall, a handsome heir to a political dynasty, who believes that she is a guest at the hotel. Fate steps in and throws the unlikely pair together for one night. When Marisa's true identity is revealed, the two find that they are worlds apart, even though the distance separating them is just a subway ride between Manhattan and the Bronx. The film is loosely based around a true story. In 1959, Steven Rockefeller, son of New York Governor Nelson Rockerfeller, married Anne-Marie Rasmussen, a maid who had worked at his family's Manhattan hotel.
This modern fairytale of Cinderella updated to modern times. That is close with certain aspects changed. Like the two step-sisters replace by two high society gold diggers. Who Jennifer Lopez works for as a maid at the hotel. No real evil stepmother unless you count the cruelty of her boss.
The supposed rodents she talks to who help her woo the prince here are a millionaire playboy trying to run for mayor. Are her co-workers.
This film was originally slated to Julia Roberts to star in, which would seem to be another film that for a time Jennifer Lopez would star in that seemed to emulate a Julia Roberts hit from the past, just as her film ENOUGH seemed inspired by Roberts film SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY. Not that there is anything wrong with that, it's just as when studios decide to remake past hits as of course you would. As it was a hit then and well remembered so why wouldn't it be a hit now. It is also how executives try to keep their jobs with so called sure things. So I can’t blame Jennifer Lopez for at the time following in the footsteps. She doesn't do badly.
The film goes with more diverse casting, which makes the film more universal in appeal and really showcases New York's melting pot of cultures.
Here Jennifer Lopez is a hard working single mothers who works as a maid, with a deadbeat ex and a smart cute son. Who is afraid to assert herself. She gets introduced to Prince Charming under a false air In a borrowed business suit and Struggles to be truthful, but gets swept off of her feet and the audience knows she is worth it. Especially with all around her pushing her to continue the lie. So it makes it seem worth it. That by the the time she tells him the truth it will be too late and he will be so in love it will be forgiven, or he could be insulted she think him so van as to not tell him the truth from the beginning and that their whole relationships foundation was built on a lie. Which makes everything else weak.
We all Know this movie is fluff. A contemporary fantasy of deep down what young girls are taught at a young age is what they seek to a degree when it comes to romance. Not that there is too much to the characters here, but the cast does o.k.
It's nice to see Ralph Fiennes not taking himself too seriously for once. This film is before he started appearing in more independent movie comedic roles. Here he is a winner as a intelligent heartthrob.
It's nice to see Amy Sedaris on screen for some comic relief. As she seems to have no shame and will play up anything thrown at her.
Stanley Tucci can play and has played this type role so many times he can do it in his sleep.
Chris Eigeman an perfectly plays his upper class character.
The use of Simon & Garfunkel music wasn't supposed to put the movie in the stratosphere of how monumental and good the movie the graduate which used them heavily on the soundtrack. Instead it believe it was supposed to mellow the film down and remind us of the halocyn days of yesteryear like the 60's and Camelot. Where you could work your way up from nothing to something easily and also a political dynasty that seemed more of the people. Though here it inspires in me to remind me how far away if a classic this film is.
Look I am a fan of Jennifer Lopez. Whether the film is good or not I am probably going to watch it eventually as to me she is irresistible. I think Jennifer Lopez is a world class beauty. Maybe the most beautiful actress of all time (again for me) she isn't that great of An actress unless she has a director who pushes her to act and challenges her to go to certain places in her craft. Or else she is going to do just enough in her role or worse she as star will take over the production and seem to be more in charge and know how to be shot well and right to make her look her best it seems. Making everything seem more put on. Nothing feels real or authentic like a fake performance. Having said that here she does what is required and has nothing to be embarrassed about. She seems here like she is putting in an effort. Though the role is not that challenging.
One expected it to be a bit better or at least more artful in design considering it was for tied by the usual Arthouse film director Wayne Wang, but he seems to ring very little imagination to the film.
Story Writer John Hughes requested that his name be removed from the credits, as the finished product had very little of his original script, which was set in Chicago. And was called THE CHAMBERMAID and originally set to star Hillary Swank. His pseudonym "Edmond Dantès" comes from the title character of The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. Hughes used the same credit in BEETHOVEN and DRILLBIT TAYLOR.
The film ends up being perfectly fine especially for the audience it is made for. It's a pretty good tie waster that loos extravagant at times, but doesn’t feel Overblown or expensive. A pure out and out popcorn movie.