(out of 5)
An honest and hardworking hotel chambermaid (Jennifer Lopez) gets the chance to be a princess for a day when she tries on the discarded clothing of a wealthy guest (Natasha Richardson) and accidentally fools a senator (Ralph Fiennes) into thinking that she is a guest at the hotel herself. She doesn’t want to be dishonest, but then again she finds herself unable to clear up the misunderstanding when the two take an honest liking to each other. Wayne Wang’s charming romantic comedy does such a good job of setting up the emotionally complex life of this single woman and her genius son that it seems such a crime when the last half takes a turn to ridiculous cheesy Cinderella territory. The screenplay by Kevin Wade follows his other fairy tale film, Working Girl, but the results aren’t nearly as delightful or intelligent. Still, Lopez gives a great, gutsy performance that makes it at least half worth watching, and Fiennes is surprisingly dapper in the least intense of the three roles he’s played in 2002 (Spider and Red Dragon being the other two). Unfortunately, their coming together in the magical ballroom scene, followed by the revelation of her true identity (which follows Sigourney Weaver’s unveiling of Melanie Griffith exactly) and the climactic resolution are far too weak to be in any way satisfying.
Directed by Wayne Wang
Cinematography by Karl Walter Lindenlaub
Music by Alan Silvestri
Production Design by Jane Musky
Costume Design by Albert Wolsky
Film Editing by Craig McKay