Maid in Manhattan  (2002) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Talk about formula.

A third generation politician, running for Senator, falls in love at first sight with a woman he sees trying on an expensive dress. After the usual plot twists, it turns out that the woman is not a rich socialite, but a maid in the hotel where he is staying.

J-Lo plays the Julia Roberts role. Ralph Fiennes plays the Richard Gere role. She has a cute little kid who bonds with Fiennes. So I guess you already know how everything will eventually turn out, and dat's da name a dat tune. Everything is completely predictable, right down to their reunion being engineered by the precocious little kid. I was haunted by the feeling that I had seen the movie before, even though it is new.

Although teenage girls will probably find this to be light amusement, I just can't give you one good reason to watch this movie. There's nothing very bad about it, but there's no originality or spark either. The best things about it were the ever-dependable Bob Hoskins as J-Lo's boss in the hotel, and Natasha Richardson as a rich bimbo snob from hell, but their parts were far too small to pull the film to a higher level.

Fiennes is a top notch actor, but he's not the ideal choice to play the dashing, charismatic politician who is a lot like JFK, a role tailor-made for the sprezzatura of George Clooney. Fiennes brings nothing to the role except an inconsistent grasp of American pronunciation and a certain inappropriately sinister Dolarhyde/Goeth intensity. When Fiennes took the little kid to the zoo, I got the impression that Ralph might suddenly turn on the kid, slaughter his precocious little ass, and feed him to the larger carnivores. I don't think that was in the original script.



wide release in theaters December 13

Hey, Fiennes actually smiles a couple of times in this movie. Of course, he looked totally uncomfortable and psychotic while doing it, so maybe it was done with CGI or a mouth double, like on Clutch Cargo.

The Critics Vote

  • Entertainment Weekly (Schwarzbaum): C

The People Vote ...


The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, C-. Barely watchable, despite a talented cast.

Return to the Movie House home page