Middling and Mindless

It's such a familiar storyline where someone falls in love "above their station in life", and that nascent love is threatened by discovery of that one fact. It's Cinderella and the armies of clones that have followed. Perhaps the classist, antiquated notions surrounding that story made the producers uncomfortable, as almost nobody here really believes it.

Here, it's Jennifer Lopez as the maid who, accidently discovered in the clothes of a guest in her high-priced hotel, gets caught up with Senatorial candidate Ralph Fiennes. She's got a kid, Ty, with an unusual political bent. The kid's father is the typical movie deadbeat, making his only "appearance" via cell phone. Lopez has aspirations to make hotel manager, at least partly to prove her pessimist mother wrong, but after the typical movie mistaken-identity plot, Lopez seems to think her real self wouldn't do for the aspiring Senator.

The film is about as transparent as the characters. We see each plot setup coming a mile away, and there's nothing all that surprising about what anyone does. Every so often there is a hint of a stronger sentiment lurking under the surface of the film, especially in the political arena, but the closest to anything meaninful I could find was a vague suggestion that perhaps Americans should forgive Richard Nixon for lying.

So, the film must rest entirely upon its execution of the well known Cinderella plot. The chemistry between Lopez and Fiennes wasn't so much unconvincing as uninspired. I also didn't quite catch that being a maid was so bad - maybe they weren't trying to make that point, and it's perfectly fine to say working in the service industry is to be respected - but this undercuts the idea of the film. How is she aspiring "above her station", if her station isn't really that low? That could have been an interesting idea to explore - and in fact the concept pokes its head up now and then, only to be brushed aside before anything meaninful comes of it.

Not to say this is all dreck or anything - there's a definite fantasist angle, and some genuinely fun moments. Are they worth the price of admission? Probably not.

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