Case Number 18395: Small Claims Court


Sony // 2002 // 105 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // February 24th, 2010

The Charge

Christopher: You're beautiful.
Marisa: So are you.
Christopher: Thank you for being here.
Marisa: I only came to tell you that this, you and me, can't go anywhere beyond this evening. It just can't.
Christopher: Well, then, you should've worn a different dress.

The Case

Indulge me for a paragraph, as I ponder the mysterious ways of Tinseltown and how movies become what they are. Imagine how all of this worked itself out, it's a good example of how inane projects come charging out of Hollywood. John Hughes (The Breakfast Club) originally wrote a script that he intended to direct himself called The Chambermaid. It was to be a period piece set in the '20s, and Oscar Winner Hilary Swank (Boys Don't Cry) was pretty much committed to starring in it. Well, something never clicked and the script lost the star and the director. Still a studio property, several more writers revamped the story and dialogue and we ended up with this. A serious period piece set to star an Academy Award winning actress became a modern Cinderella tale for "Jenny From the Block." Yeah, Maid in Manhattan takes me back to the days when Jennifer Lopez (Selena) ruled the world. How else can you explain how this this flick made over one hundred million dollars? I doubt Hilary Swank could have pulled in that kind of box office even in a corset.

Maid in Manhattan is a 2002 romantic comedy where Jennifer Lopez stars as a hotel maid named Marissa who has bigger ambitions and dreams to build a better life for herself and her son. A senator (Ralph Fiennes, The English Patient) mistakes her for a wealthy socialite, and soon begins to court her. Of course it's all a massive misunderstanding, she was just trying on someone else's coat. Yet somehow Marissa just goes ahead and goes on a date with the Senator, and soon we see the class war ignite as real identities emerge. But don't think you can hold a good woman down. La Lopez will get her Luis Vitton on eventually, and Ralph Fiennes will learn that a spicy Latina is far better than a lily white socialite any day. How else you going to get that Hispanic vote?

There is absolutely nothing wrong with this movie, and it turns out to be a fine light romantic comedy done in the style of Pretty Woman. I like Jennifer Lopez in this one, and I've always thought Ralph Fiennes was dashing enough to carry one of these romantic films. This one also includes a notable supporting cast including Natasha Richardson (The Parent Trap), Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones), Bob Hoskins (Who Framed Roger Rabbit?), Amy Sedaris (Bewitched), and Frances Conroy (Catwoman). You know exactly where all of this is headed, but we get pretty dresses and beautiful people all along the way. It's escapist froth which works if you want a safe family flick for a date night or girls' night in.

Sony doesn't do too much with this high definition Blu-ray release. The extras are barely changed. There is a shopping segment that is missing, and I suppose that may be an economic sign of the times as well as material that did not age well. Replacing it is a lonely little blooper reel which just offers some flubbed takes which are fun. The visual transfer seems to be where any differences are. The New York City skyline is better detailed, flesh tones are more natural, and the contrasts are better balanced. They did not do much with the sound mix, it is pretty much what we got back in 2002. So the only thing that seems to have made the leap to the new format is the picture. I'd say this is not a "must upgrade" title unless you're really concerned about the resolution of the former release on DVD. The only other additions seem to be a heck of a lot more foreign language options, so perhaps this is Sony's way of making this one more internationally appealing with one release.

Maid in Manhattan does what it sets out to do without much fuss or fanfare. It is simply Cinderella or Pretty Woman remixed for Jennifer Lopez circa 2002 when she was a hot property. It seems almost like a period piece now, reminding me of the time when Lopez was on the tip of everybody's tongue. It was well before she broke Ben Affleck's heart and made Gigli. Sony just sort of cranks up the picture to a higher resolution and offers this one up as a catalogue title for the new Blu-ray format. It's only worth purchasing if you don't own it yet or want the best picture possible.

The Verdict

Not guilty of being much more than a likable set piece for Jennifer Lopez to be a glamorous maid.

Review content copyright © 2010 Brett Cullum; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 84

Perp Profile
Studio: Sony
Video Formats:
* 2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)

Audio Formats:
* TrueHD 5.1 Surround (English)
* TrueHD 5.1 Surround (French)
* TrueHD 5.1 Surround (Portuguese)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Thai)

* English
* English (SDH)
* Chinese
* French
* Korean
* Portuguese
* Spanish
* Thai

Running Time: 105 Minutes
Release Year: 2002
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13

Distinguishing Marks
* Blooper Reel

* IMDb