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Maid in Manhattan is a 2002 romantic comedy film directed by Wayne Wang about a hotel maid and a high profile politician who fall in love.

The film stars Jennifer Lopez, Ralph Fiennes, and Natasha Richardson. It is based on a story by John Hughes who is credited using a pseudonym.

PlotEdit

Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about
the entire movie.

Marisa Ventura (Jennifer Lopez) is a single mother trying to get by with her young son Ty (Tyler Posey) by working as a maid for The Beresford Hotel in the heart of Manhattan. When not in school, Ty spends time among Marisa’s fellow hotel workers, who think she is capable of being promoted to management.

While Marisa and fellow maid Stephanie (Marissa Matrone) are cleaning the room of socialite Caroline Lane (Natasha Richardson), Stephanie convinces Marisa to try on a designer Dolce & Gabbana coat. Lane had previously asked for it to be returned to the store and Stephanie argues that it “technically” doesn’t belong to anyone at the moment.

Elsewhere in the hotel, Ty befriends hotel guest and senatorial candidate Christopher Marshall (Ralph Fiennes), whom Ty learns has an interest in Richard Nixon, the subject of his school presentation. Ty wants to go with Chris to walk his dog and the pair go to Caroline Lane’s room to ask Marisa for permission. Chris meets Marisa who is wearing the designer coat, and is instantly smitten with her. He assumes that she is Caroline Lane.

The trio spend some time together in the park. Though Marisa and Chris are attracted to each other, Marisa is terrified that management will find out about the ruse and makes it a point to avoid Chris afterwards.

Chris asks the hotel’s head butler Lionel Bloch (Bob Hoskins) to invite “Caroline Lane” to lunch, but he is confused when the real Caroline shows up instead of Marisa. Ironically, Marisa was present when she received the invitation and even offered Caroline some advice on what to wear for their “Lunch à deux”.

When the real Caroline shows up, Chris asks his assistant Jerry Siegal (Stanley Tucci) to find “the other Caroline Lane” promising that he will attend an important dinner and wishes her to go with him. Jerry asks Lionel to find her.

Lionel (who has figured out that Marisa is the woman Chris has been looking for) tells her to go to the dinner and end the affair swiftly if she wants to keep her possible future in hotel management.

Stephanie and the hotel staff assist her in preparing for the evening by styling her hair, loaning her an expensive dress, and a spectacular necklace. Marisa is unable to end the affair, and she spends the night in Chris's hotel room.

The next morning, Marisa is spotted by the real Caroline Lane and her friend leaving Chris' room. Caroline blurts out the truth to the hotel management and Marisa is fired in front of Chris in Lane’s hotel suite.

Both Marisa and Chris spend some time apart with him still thinking about her and Marisa hounded by the press and her disapproving classist mother, Veronica.

Some time later, Marisa has obtained another job as a maid at another hotel. Chris is giving a press conference in the same hotel.

Ty attends it and asks Chris whether people should be forgiven if they make mistakes, referencing former President of the United States, Richard Nixon. Ty leads him to the staff-room where Marisa is having her break & Chris and Marisa are reunited.

The film ends with images of publications showing that Chris has been elected, he and Marisa are still together after one year, Marisa has started her own hospitality business and Marisa’s maid friends have been promoted to management.

CastEdit

  • Jennifer Lopez as Marisa Ventura
  • Ralph Fiennes as Christopher Marshall
  • Natasha Richardson as Caroline Lane
  • Stanley Tucci as Jerry Siegal
  • Tyler Posey as Ty Ventura
  • Frances Conroy as Paula Burns
  • Chris Eigeman as John Bextrum
  • Amy Sedaris as Rachel Hoffman
  • Marissa Matrone as Stephanie Kehoe
  • Priscilla Lopez as Veronica Ventura
  • Bob Hoskins as Lionel Bloch
  • Lisa Roberts Gillan as Cora
  • Maddie Corman as Leezette
  • Sharon Wilkins as Clarice
  • Jeffrey Dinowitz as Congressman Grey
  • Di Quon as Lily Kim
  • Marilyn Torres as Barb
  • Lou Ferguson as Keef Townsend

ProductionEdit

The film was originally titled "The Chambermaid" and then "Uptown Girl." It was described as a Cinderella-type story.

John Hughes was initially announced as the film's director, with Hilary Swank set to star as the lead.

In July of 2001, Variety confirmed that Jennifer Lopez was in negotiations to star in "The Chambermaid" with Hughes no longer directing the project & Swank was no longer involved in the film.

Ralph Fiennes signed on to star in the film in February of 2002. Natasha Richardson joined the cast in April of 2002.

In August of 2002, the film's title was confirmed as "Maid in Manhattan."

Describing the character of Marisa, Lopez said: "She's Puerto Rican. She's from the Bronx. She has this young son and she's just trying to make ends meet. Every day she gets on the train to work. She goes to this big city of dreams and she wants more. She has aspirations in that way."

Fiennes' character was originally a wealthy British guest

The principal photography commenced in April, and concluded by June 2002. Filming was carried out at both New York's Roosevelt Hotel and the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.

The filming also took place in the Morris Heights section of the Bronx on E 175 Street between the Grand Concourse and on Jerome Avenue. John Hughes wrote the story, but was credited as Edmond Dantes.

On the film's first day of production in The Bronx, paparazzi and spectators forced filming to stop, and police were called as a result of the pandemonium. Wayne Wang said, "No one in the production was prepared for it.""

ReceptionEdit

Box OfficeEdit

"Maid in Manhattan" opened at 2,838 theaters in the United States, reaching number one at the box office in its opening weekend with $18.7 million.

It earned a total of $94,011,225 domestically and $60,895,468 in other countries, for a total gross of $155 million worldwide

Critical ReceptionEdit

"Maid in Manhattan" received mixed reviews from film critics.

At the website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a rating of 39% based on 145 reviews and the site's consensus, stating: "Too blandly generic, Maid in Manhattan also suffers from a lack of chemistry between Lopez and Fiennes."

Time magazine named it one of the top 10 worst chick flicks.

According to Anna Smith of the magazine Empire: "the film constantly falls back on its staple fairy-tale plotline, which is so resolutely traditional it should succeed in charming its target audience."

Nell Minow of Common Sense Media wrote positively, stating: "is as careful a combination of ingredients as it is possible to package [sic] Everything is at the fairy tale level, which means we never dwell on troubling realities."

Paul Byrnes of the Sydney Morning Herald said: "The script is so lazy it snores, and Wayne Wang directs like he walked onto the wrong set - true enough, in its way."

Rich Cline of the webzine Film Threat reviewed "Maid in Manhattan" positively. He wrote: "When we catch ourselves sighing at the end, we get mad that we've fallen for this same old formula all over again. But mad in a nice way."

Roger Ebert wrote that the film is a "skillful, glossy, formula picture, given life by the appeal of its stars."

Charles Passy of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution gave it a negative review, writing: "Instead of a fairy tale, we have a tale told without imagination. It's Cinderella gone stale."

However, Andrew Chase of "Killer Movie Reviews" was more positive. Chase wrote: "Leave reality at the concession stand along with your $20 for popcorn, candy and a large drink."

Derek Adams of Time Out wrote: "Talented individuals labour over the contrivances in this lightweight romance, and if the result's fluff, at least it's painless."

Lopez's casting in the film sparked some debate.

Variety commented that "[m]aking the maid a Latina is certainly realistic but never quite avoids the suggestion that upward mobility is best achieved through marriage into Anglo society."

Erica Chito Childs (author of the 2009 book "Fade to Black and White: Interracial Images in Popular Culture") noted aspects of the film to expose the objective sides of a biracial relationship using the "symbolic roles of maid and politician."

Writer Betty Kaklamanidou praised Lopez's casting in the film which "proved that a Latin actress can move away from stereotypical supporting roles and effectively become the center of a romantic narrative."

In 2007, actress Jessica Alba said: "Jennifer Lopez is a huge star but in Hollywood they still always want her to play the maid."

AccoladesEdit

Year Award Category Recipient(s) Result
2003 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture Jennifer Lopez Nominated
2003 Teen Choice Award Choice Movie Actress – Comedy Jennifer Lopez Nominated
2003 Teen Choice Award Choice Movie Liar Jennifer Lopez Nominated
2003 Teen Choice Award Choice Movie Lip lock Jennifer Lopez and Ralph Fiennes Nominated
2004 Golden Raspberry Award Worst Actress Jennifer Lopez Nominated

Theatrical TrailerEdit

Maid in Manhattan Movie Trailer

Maid in Manhattan Movie Trailer

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