Maid to Order


by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

People started to notice Ally Sheedy in the early 80s in such films as Bad Boys and War Games. In 1985, she was in two Brat Pack films which resonated with her generation: St Elmo's Fire and The Breakfast Club. Those were both ensemble films and her contribution to their success was negligible, but she was a good team player and had attracted enough attention that some suits decided that she might be able to carry a film on her own. The vehicle they chose was this film, a fairy tale chick-flick about a spoiled rich girl who ends up working as a maid, thanks to a plot device which riffs on It's A Wonderful Life - her father wishes he had never had a daughter. As you can probably guess, the experience makes her a better person and leads her to true love as well.

It's the usual formula that used to work for Meg Ryan and Goldie Hawn and still occasionally works for Kate Hudson, J-Lo, Katherine Heigl, or Jennifer Aniston, but it wasn't successful in this case. The film was not well accepted by critics (36% positive reviews), film buffs (5.1 at IMDb), or general audiences ($9M gross). It never even snuck into the top ten films in any given week. The suits must have been understandably apprehensive about asking Ally to carry another film by herself, so her next starring vehicle was more like an ensemble film. It was yet another chick-flick in which Ally, Virginia Madsen and Phoebe Cates played three sorority friends who took different paths after college. That film, Heart of Dixie, bombed much worse than Maid to Order. Although the two films appeared in a comparable number of theaters, Heart of Dixie grossed only about a million dollars. After that point, the combination of box office failure and drug dependency caused Ally's career to disintegrate. She either took small parts or starred in small movies. She had fallen so far so fast that by 1992 she ended up playing an unnamed ticket agent in the Home Alone sequel. She gave Broadway a try, but her performance in Hedwig and the Angry Inch was widely panned, and she was soon relegated to made-for-TV films.

Well, the star thing didn't really work for her, but she experienced a bit of a career resurgence in art films in the late 90s, and is a survivor. She has managed to make a steady living in Hollywood up until the present day.

Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:




2 Roger Ebert (of 4 stars)
36 Rotten Tomatoes  (% positive)


5.2 IMDB summary (of 10)


Box Office Mojo. It grossed $10M in about 500 theaters. (In those days, 1500-1700 theaters was the saturation level.) It never cracked the top 12.


Ally Sheedy did a skinny dipping scene in Maid to Order. Unfortunately, the quality of the DVD is very poor and the film is presented in a full screen version which may have just been a converted VHS master.

(I noticed in the IMDb discussion boards that some fans of this movie are trying to promote an online petition to get a DVD re-release. They were not having much success. Let's face it, how many people really care one way or another?)

That is really Ally in the pool, but the smart money says that the woman getting in and out of the pool is a body double, although I don't know for sure.