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While I did like MAID IN MANHATTAN ($25) and found it to be a perfect date movie, the all too familiar storyline is evidence that Hollywood tends to be bereft of original ideas. MAID IN MANHATTAN is little more than a slightly redressed remake of PRETTY WOMAN, which itself was nothing more than a reworking of the classic Cinderella story. Instead of a hooker ala PRETTY WOMAN, the Cinderella character in MAID IN MANHATTAN isÖ you guessed it: a chambermaid. Jennifer Lopez stars as Marisa Ventura, a hardworking chambermaid at a posh New York City hotel, who has dreams of making it into hotel management.

Prince Charming comes in the form of Senatorial candidate and playboy Christopher Marshall (Ralph Fiennes), who mistakes Marisa for a guest at the hotel and is immediately smitten. Filling the Fairy Godmother role is none other than Bob Hoskins, who portrays the hotelís Chief Butler Lionel Bloch. Of course, Hoskins is utterly terrific in the very small role, making this reviewer wish he had more scenes in the film. In the thankless wicked step-mother/step-sister role is none other than the late great Natasha Richardson as self-absorbed hotel guest Caroline Lane. About the only bit of originality in the story is making Marisa a single mother, with a precocious son named Ty (Tyler Garcia Posey), who definitely has an influence on his motherís upscale romance. The cast of MAID IN MANHATTAN also features Stanley Tucci, Frances Conroy, Chris Eigeman, Amy Sedaris, Marissa Matrone and Priscilla Lopez.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made MAID IN MANHATTAN available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. MAID IN MANHATTAN comes with a wonderfully attractive 1080p presentation that is certainly eager to please. The picture displays excellent sharpness, dimensionality and fine detail. Colors are well saturated, but never look less than natural, plus the flesh tones are always quite appealing. Blacks are deep, whites are crisp and contrast is smooth. Shadow detail is just fine for this type of romantic material. The elements from which MAID IN MANHATTAN has been mastered are free from flaws. There is a very light veneer of grain within the image that gives it a nicely organic quality.

MAID IN MANHATTAN is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. The sound isnít very much different from what was found on the DVD release, other than the modest boost in fidelity offered by the lossless encode. Since MAID IN MANHATTAN is a dialogue driven comedy, the sound design never becomes particularly elaborate. As expected, the forward soundstage is dominant, with some stereo imaging for incidental sounds and the music. As for the surround channels, the mostly provide ambient sounds and musical fill. Fidelity is very good, especially where the musical component is concerned. The bass channel has little to do, other than supporting the music. Voices are natural sounding and the dialogue is always completely understandable. French and Portuguese 5.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtracks are also encoded onto the disc, as are Spanish and Thai Dolby Digital 5.1 channel tracks. Subtitles are available in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean and Thai.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the discís interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a Blooper Reel and some Bonus Trailers.

MAID IN MANHATTAN is a perfect date night movie given a pretty terrific looking release on Blu-ray.



Maid in Manhattan [Blu-ray] (2002)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2010 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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