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MAID IN MANHATTAN

Review by Chastity Campbell

Stars: Jennifer Lopez, Ralph Fiennes
Director: Wayne Wang
Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital
Video: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen Format & 1.33:1 Standard Fullscreen Format
Studio: Columbia Tri-Star
Features: See Review
Length: 105 Minutes
Release Date: March 25, 2003

“I need to let you know…this can’t go any farther than tonight!”

“Then you shouldn’t have worn that dress!”

Film ***

I have heard so many people over the last two years say over and over again that Jennifer Lopez can’t act.  I have to say this and say it loud…YES, SHE CAN!!! Now I feel better.

Maid In Manhattan is a very nice, sweet, and wonderfully romantic movie with some comedy thrown in for good measure.  I can explain this movie for you, with two movie titles, Pretty Woman meets Ever After.  Now Julia Roberts, J-Lo is not!  Drew Barrymore…ummm, no, not really.  She does, however, have the most wonderful ability to draw you into whatever you’re watching with her honesty. 

Maid In Manhattan stars Jennifer Lopez as Marisa, a maid in an upscale Manhattan hotel who falls in love with a would-be Senator played by Ralph Fiennes. 

Fiennes does a really good job as the perpetually amused Senatorial Candidate Christopher Marshall.  He’s almost always smiling in the movie and even though he needs no help looking sexy, that smile puts him right up there with the likes of Tom Cruise and Matt Damon.

Christopher mistakes Marisa for a wealthy socialite when he catches her trying on a $5,000 outfit belonging to one of the hotel guests.   What’s a maid to do when she’s caught in a pair of borrowed knickers?  Take a walk in Central Park with a soon-to-be Senator, that’s what!

There are confusion, collisions, and did I mention confusion as poor Mr. Marshall tries to figure out this woman he is falling for.   Marisa tries to avoid him, but the movie just wouldn’t work right if they didn’t run into each other a lot and at the most inconvenient of times.

When all is revealed, will Prince charming ride off into the sunset with his Cinderella, or will he turn into a toad and leave his princess scrubbing floors?

I really enjoyed the lighthearted nature of this film.  Maid In Manhattan didn’t dig deep into any emotional channels, and it didn’t make you want to analyze the motives of each character.  It did, however, go back to the basic root of what movies are supposed to be…entertainment!

Maid In Manhattan will give the little girl in all of us a chance to see our fairytale dreams realized on the big screen once again.  Disclaimer: Yes this is a chick flick, guys you have been warned!

Video ***

The visual presentation for Maid In Manhattan was very nice and easy to enjoy.   Presented in both a 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen Format and a 1.33:1 Standard Fullscreen Format, you get the full range of what this movie has to offer.   Each Aspect Ratio was very well done, and even in fullscreen, I didn’t feel as though I was missing much due to the way the cameras always seemed to be zoomed to just the right depth and angle. 

The crisp, and very clean images had no flaws that I could detect.  During one of the outdoor scenes, I did notice a bit of hazing around the edge of the frame, but that was possibly due to the weather during the filming of that scene because it was a bit overcast and gray.

 Audio **

I think I was expecting a bit more than this Dolby Digital 5.1 mix delivered.  The background noise and soundtrack seemed to overwhelm the spoken dialogue on several occasions.   

The music was nice, but it tended to be a little too heavy on the low-end effects.  Not enough bass is a bad thing; too much is not good either.   This DVD could have really benefited from an audio makeover.

Features ***

Until now, I have always thought of movie trailers on a DVD as not much of an extra feature.  Sure, you get to see some odds and ends titles that the production company has put out.  However, this disc was so generous I had to bump my rating up to three stars! 

First you get the choice of Aspect Ratio, which I dearly love.  You can watch the movie in widescreen or fullscreen format. 

You will be greeted with Snow White-esque mirror, mirror, on the wall menus, and subtitles in English and French once you get inside the disc.

Moving right along to the movie trailers, we are greeted first with a promo for Maid In Manhattan.  A 12 step how to with Adam Sandler & Jack Nicholson’s upcoming flick Anger Management follows next.   Charlie’s Angels swoop in at Full Throttle to heat up your DVD player right before Eddie Murphy shows us the dos and do nots of being a Mr. Mom in Daddy Daycare.  Finally, we get another J-Lo promo for one of her previous releases The Wedding Planner, and that as they say is that for this DVD’s features.

Summary:

A modern day Cinderella story with a lot of heart, Maid In Manhattan is a must see for everyone.  Girls will be able to appreciate the simple love story, and guys will be able to appreciate J-Lo, so you see, it’s a win win situation…pick it up today!