Director: Wayne Wang
There's possibly just one, and only one, intriguing thing about Maid in Manhattan—it's been made by a rather ethnically-inclined company called Red Om Films. Otherwise, the movie's as predictable as any Mills and Boon novel. However, the leftovers of the M&B romance have been suitably garnished to keep pace with our changing times. And that makes Maid in Manhattan more than just trash—it's a square mix of yesterday and today and pretends to be nothing more than a fluff-'n-confection fairy-tale for the 21st century. Like it or lump it, in accordance with your levels of mush toleration.
There are some old-worldly elements—like the wistful strains of Simon and Garfunkel's Me and Julio that set the credits rolling. What follows is the life and times of today's supermom, played by the subdued and disappointingly decorous Jennifer Lopez. She is Marissa, the maid in the upmarket Beresford Hotel, who never compromises on her job. Yet, she's always there for her kid—she takes him to school, attends his speech competition, takes him to work on the weekends even as the dad remains just a voice on the phone. Such a nice Cinderella from Bronx has to deserve a loving, high-society Prince Charming. Here it's senatorial candidate Chris Marshall (Ralph Fiennes) who mistakes Marissa for a rich guest. The rest is about how this romance of errors gets resolved.
Maid... is peopled by characters who are cloyingly warm, friendly and overflowing with the milk of human kindness. Everyone unites in helping Marissa pull off her charade. Nothing and no one makes for even a remotely sinister presence; so when the management decides to sack Marissa, they do it with perfect earnestness. Some of the dialogue seems to have suspiciously sprung out of a corny Deepak Chopra self-help manual. But, despite these obvious banalities, Maid... may not be overly offensive if you watch it with the least expectations. The know-all kid's exchanges with his on-screen dad-to-be are patently cute. But Fiennes and Lopez make a supremely odd couple. While Fiennes with his deep blue eyes oozes sincere love, even for the bench in Central Park, Lopez looks the other way. But the k3g-loving Indian audience might not.