Maid in Manhattan

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The plot in a nutshell
Jennifer Lopez plays a maid at a top end hotel in Manhattan.  Struggling to break free of her past and her mother's negative outlook, she gets an opportunity to move up into management.  But before she gets far, a city councilman, running for Senate and known for his playboy ways, walks in on her trying on some expensive clothing.  The stud puppy, played by Ralph Fiennes, assumes the usual, and she finds herself playing the dual role, hiding her real identity from the man she's attracted to, and trying to hide the blossoming relationship from work.
Of course she fails, and when the two worlds collide, everything falls apart.

Relatively Spoiler Free Thoughts
We often complain about sequels and remakes, when in reality almost every film is a remake of the basic stories.  Here we have another version of the standard Cinderella story, without the wicked step sisters.

Similar to last week's 8 Mile, there's nothing new here in terms of story.  You've seen this played out many times, in many period and contemporary films.  The strength of this film isn't in it's screenplay, but in the acting.

Jennifer Lopez can act.  She is easily the best actress to come out of pop music in quite some time, and she can carry just about any role.  She's not just another pretty face, but a well rounded (literally) talent.  It's really her performance here that lifts this above the average romantic comedy.

I can't say the same about Fiennes, who does a fine job, but could have been swapped out with at least a dozen other male leads.  He doesn't have much to do here, and he's more scenery than anything else.

The other hotel personnel add a nice dimension to the film, even if their actions and words are all pretty predictable.  They give the film some depth, particularly Bob Hoskins as the worldly head butler and mentor, and her close friends on the maid staff.

There's a few laugh out loud moments, and it has it's share of romance.  Since it's a romantic comedy, they hit the mark more than they miss.

Rating - Rent It
Do you like romantic comedies in general?  Than you'll enjoy this film.  Better than the average drek in this genre, but not quite top material, it's worth a rental.  Don't expect any explosions or car chases, although they did do a few things with the 5.1 surround sound that surprised me.  If you are male, and being forced to watch a 'chick flick', you could do worse than this one.

Spoiler Laden Thoughts
No big spoilers to worry about here - don't be surprised when the girl gets everything she dreamed of at the end.

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