Maid In Manhattan (2002)
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|Movie Review by Seth C |
August 6th, 2006
I don't know about you, but I am extremely sick and tired of seeing films where the main female character is surrounded by her girlfriends, usually consisting of at least one or more minorities, who go on to tell her how she is suppose to live her life. Then usually during this scene, the big black lady of the group (and there's always a big black lady in the group, isn't there?) looks at our heroine and mutters the stereotypical and sassy head-moving "Mm-hmm."
Seriously, shoudn't we be pass this stereotypical bulls@#t by now. Black characters can offer a lot more to a film's storyline then a sassy remark and head swivel. Had the scene been followed with a "You go, girlfriend," I might have just found myself swallowing a handful of sleeping pills and ending the torture that is "Maid in Manhattan," which stars Jennifer Lopez as, well, the maid in Manhattan. Although, there was no 'girlfriend' remark, the scene did end with another tiredly unfunny and over-used bit in which the girlfriends excitiedly begin to dance out of joy to some old pop classic. Here the filmmaker decided to go with Gladys Night's "I'm Coming Out," which was a better choice then the usual "I Will Survive."
This might have been the only true thinking the filmmaker did.
The filmmaker in question is Wayne Wang, who was the director behind one of the best films I saw in 2001, the controversial "The Center of the World." Where "World" is insightful, sexy and sad, "Maid in Manhattan" is one-noted, simple and built with the classic happy ending. Of course, I left out the fact that "World" is a great film that will leave you pondering about it for the days to come, whereas "Maid in Manhattan" is nowhere near a great film and becomes easily forgettable.
"Maid in Manhattan" is your standard paint-by-numbers romantic comedy; famous rich guy meets blue-collared girl who lies about who she really is, they fall in love, the truth is exposed, they break-up and than so many odd months later they realize they can't live without each other. Can you say, BOR-ING?!
With respectable actors like Bob Hoskins and Ralph Fiennes, who plays the said 'famous rich guy,' you can only question their motives. My belief is that they thought this was going to be one of Wayne Wang's moving pictures and not one of the top five sell-outs in film history.
For a Friday night movie with a girl I could really care too turds about, "Maid in Manhattan" would be one of my first choices. However, for a Friday night movie with a girl I'd like to spend the rest of my life with, I'd choose the similar, but much better done film "Notting Hill." That film may not have the beautiful Lopez in it, but at least there's no clan of girlfriends foolishly dancing around together.
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