Click here to return to the main site.

Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

Maid in Manhattan


Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Ralph Fiennes and Natasha Richardson
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
RRP: £17.99
Certificate: PG
Available 08 September 2008

Marisa Ventura is a hard working Latino chambermaid, a single mother; she looks after her son Ty, whilst fending off her judgmental mother. One day whilst cleaning a room she is tempted to try on the expensive clothes of a guest only for her to be mistaken for a wealthy woman and Christopher Marshall, a political candidate for the Senate, asks her out on a date. But how long can she keep the pretence up...

Maid in Manhattan (2002: 1 hr 45 min 17 sec) was directed by Wayne Wang who had previously directed the much better The Joy Luck Club (1993). The film was nominated for a few minor awards but won nothing, nadda, zip, zilch and I can understand why.

Although the film looks good, it is an ultimately formulaic remake of Cinderella. And before I get hung by the short and curlies for being a man who has the temerity of suggesting that is was an okay chick flick, I did watch this with my other half who also conclude that although the film had a dash of visual style, the story itself was nothing to write home about.

One thing it did make me think about was the difference in the portrayal of the class system between our American cousins and us. In the superior Love Actually (2003) you had a similar situation of a powerful political figure becoming emotionally involved with a maid. However, the only thing which prevents the two getting it on sooner was Hugh Grant catching her snogging a foreign dignitary. There is no great deal made about her station in life compared to his - no one really thought it was strange that the Prime Minister of the UK should fall in love with a maid.

But in Jennifer Lopez’s film a great deal is made about their social differences, giving the impression that the land of the free is actually a more stratified society than our own. The fall out of this is that having discovered the deception Chris (Ralph Fiennes) actually cuts off ties with her for the best part of a year before returning to re-enact the famous closing scene of An Officer and a Gentleman (1982) - though this time in a kitchen - personally I would have told him to sling his hook at this point. Fiennes also comes over as a little too stiff and uptight in the role, making it difficult to sympathise with his character.

Lopez, as Marisa, does do a great job at presenting her character in a very naturalistic way. One of the highlights of the film is watching her relationship with her son and her fellow workers - one of which is Bob Hoskins who, although he is cast as a stereotypical butler, has one of the finest moments in the film with his closing speech to Marisa.

The Blu-ray is stunning to look at with lots of sharp detail, though the cinematography doesn’t really capitalise on either the interiors or the external shots. The disc comes with a 5.1 English track as well as a choice of other European languages (Czechoslovakian, Hungarian, Polish and Russian) and twelve European subtitles plus Hindi and Arabic. The film comes with almost no extras; you get a slightly amusing Blooper Reel (7 min, 18 sec) and a generic trailer for Blu-rays.

In the end, unless you’re a fan of Lopez, this is the sort of film you might sit through, but not necessarily buy.


Charles Packer

Buy this item online

We compare prices online so you get the cheapest deal
Click on the logo of the desired store below to purchase this item.

£13.49 (
£13.99 (
£17.99 (
£17.97 (
£15.99 (
£11.93 (

All prices correct at time of going to press.