Maid in Manhattan

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

J Lo. I’m not sure if she made a deal with the devil or what, but there has got to be some reasoning behind why we all really give a hoot as to what she does every second of every day of her life. I don’t care if she’s marrying Ben Affleck, I don’t care what she’s wearing to the various award shows and I don’t care for her acting ability, either. That being said, I do have to clarify that I have only liked her in one movie, Out of Sight. I think the reason why is that she wasn’t so overexposed then (her credits up until then were Anaconda and Selena. In any case, she’ll have more money than I’ll ever have and I suppose it’s time that I talk about the title in question. Maid in Manhattan (clever play on words, eh) isn’t a bad movie. The performances aren’t even that bad. It’s just so “been there done that” that literally after watching the trailer, you know what will happen. And let’s just say that they spend a little too much time on “character” development because we all know what will happen in the end. Still, audiences loved it as it grossed nearly $100 million dollars this holiday season. So what is a predictable movie with a semi-studded cast all about?

We meet Marisa Ventura (Jennifer Lopez) and her son, Ty (Tyler Posey) as she’s hurrying to get to work. Ty is a smart kid, the typical son of a single mother. Granted that he’s ten years old and has a thing for Richard Nixon, but aside from that; he’s just a normal kid. This fact also becomes very useful and acts as a nice little bridge between him and Christopher Marshall (Ralph Fiennes). As it turns out, Marisa is a maid at a posh New York City hotel and has aspirations of being something better than what she really is. A true Cinderella, I suppose. As fate would have it, there is a spot open for an Assistant Manager position at the hotel and management has decided to hire from within. Her friend puts her application in for her and there we have half of the story. Conversely, the same friend also gets her to try on some very expensive clothes and as she is parading around the hotel room, she bumps into Christopher. The two are naturally instantly attracted, but what will she do when he finds out that she’s not the rich guest of the hotel, but instead just hired help? Judging from the cover of the box, you can guess that he doesn’t care and the two might just live happily ever after. That’s only if you care, though…

I can safely say this as I watched the movie with a girl. We both figured that the movie had been a modest hit, so we both watched it with eager anticipation. About 45 minutes into it, we had already decided that the movie was way too long and drawn out and that we knew what would happen in the end. So, why not have a little fun? Here’s a little trick to make the movie more enjoyable, every time Jennifer Lopez’s character (Marisa) says “S’up” to someone on the street or one of her friends, take a drink of beer (or Diet Coke, I don’t care). The dialogue is so repetitive and translucent that you really don’t care what happens. One bright ray of light is the performance by Stanley Tucci, always a favorite of mine and who always turns in a very entertaining role. If this is a post 9/11 “feel good” movie set in New York, ok (the opening scene does feature a somewhat barren shot, though familiar, of Manhattan). But this type of movie has been done so many times before, it’s hard to recommend. For fans of J Lo, and you’re out there, I suppose you’ll love it. For me, I’ll pass.

Video: How does it look?

Columbia/Tristar is very good at showing us the film in its most pristine form. Quite surprisingly, the film is shown in a 2.35:1 (I was expecting a 1.85:1 ratio) anamorphic ratio that looks spectacular. The opening shots seem a bit murky, but once the action on screen starts, I found it hard to find any errors. Some scenes do suffer a bit from some artifacting, but not that much. Flesh tones are nearly perfect and only on very rare occasions does the picture defer from anything but perfect. It’s too bad the subject matter couldn’t match the quality of the video.

Audio: How does it sound?

Romantic Comedies aren’t really much on sound and this is certainly no exception. Though a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is included, it plays more like a surround mix. Dialogue is clear and no signs of distortion can be found in the least. The ambiance of the soundtrack is limited by both the genre of the movie as well as the lack of anything needing to emanate form the rear channels! Though it does sound good, I wasn’t expecting a lot; which is good, because you don’t get a lot.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Considering the success of the movie, I was expecting a bit more in the supplement department, but all that’s included is the theatrical trailer (watch it after or if you want the “abridged” version and watch it before).

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