Thursday, October 18, 2012

Maid In Manhattan

The thing about me is that while I do love new stories, I always have a soft spot for the classics: the ones whose plot has been done and redone several times over throughout the decades. Such is the case with Maid In Manhattan. While of course it holds no candle to the originals, the parallels are evident enough. Small-time girl (impoverished) working as a maid (chambermaid/ nanny/ governess) at a 5-star hotel (or Abbey/ Castle/ Park) in Manhattan, one of the most famous cities (town/ land) in the world, and falls for the lofty State Assemblyman (or President/ Lord/ Baron/ Duke/ Viscount/ etc...) -- indeed, we all know this story. That being said, I'm probably one of the very few girls who openly admit to enjoying Maid In Manhattan. Sure, JLo is more renowned for her backside than her acting skills, but I didn't think that meant she was a bad actress. And Ralph Fiennes, perfect man that he is, in a romantic comedy is sure to send fanatics' hearts aflutter. Sigh.

Can a wealthy Republican politician find happiness with a chambermaid from the Bronx? One man is about to find out, though he hardly realizes it at first, in this romantic comedy from director Wayne Wang. Marisa Ventura (Jennifer Lopez) is a single mother who is raising her gifted but under-confident son Ty (Tyler Garcia Posey) on her own, with some help from her mother Veronica (Priscilla Lopez), after divorcing her husband. Marisa works as a housekeeper at the exclusive Beresford Hotel in Manhattan, where her boss Paula Burns (Frances Conroy) and chief butler Lionel Bloch (Bob Hoskins) urge Marisa and her best friend and fellow maid Stephanie (Marissa Matrone) to be as efficient and inconspicuous as possible. One day, while cleaning the room of noted socialite Caroline Lane (Natasha Richardson), Stephanie spies a beautiful designer gown and dares Marisa to try it on; against her better judgment, she does, and while all dolled up, she bumps into Christopher Marshall (Ralph Fiennes), a wealthy and well-bred bachelor who is running for the Senate. Immediately charmed, Chris asks Marisa to join him for a walk in Central Park, assuming she's the blue-blooded Caroline. Marisa manages to join Chris for the afternoon, with Ty in tow, and Chris finds himself quite taken with Marisa's beauty and down-to-earth personality, as well as Ty's precocious interest in politics. Chris later calls Caroline's room to set up a lunch date, but soon discovers the stuffy Ms. Lane is not the woman he met before. Marisa is also attracted to Chris, but while her friends encourage her to pursue a romance, Veronica believes her daughter is asking for trouble by trying to win a man so far out of her social strata.