Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

I watched the first half of this nearly six years ago, when it made very little sense to me.

Now that I've finally got around to watching the other half, I can see why.

The axis on which this outing rotates is that senatorial candidate Christopher (Ralph Fiennes) cannot recognise hotel maid Marisa (Jennifer Lopez) each time she puts on a particular dress.

Sorry, call me male, but I still can't see how that's supposed to change her face. Even Clark Kent at least wears glasses.

Consequently, when Christopher falls for Marisa while she's in the dress, but barely even notices her in her overalls, he immediately comes across as quite shallow. Surely Marisa deserves better? Well, she does seem to have a bit of a problem with lying to him, so maybe not.

It also can't be ignored that, aside from the odd brief exchange, Christopher and Marisa only really meet two or three times in the film. Maybe that explains the former's difficulty in recognising the latter, but it also sabotages any sense that they've really fallen in love. We've been watching them both for the whole movie, sure, but they haven't.

I guess it could be love at first sight, but only when she's wearing another woman's clothes. Hrrrm.

Anyway, having spent the night together after the second time they haven't quite gone out (approaching the end of the film now), there's a moment when another character recognises Marisa because she's mistakenly still wearing the same... necklace.

I do think that this could have worked. For example, if the party scene had been a fancy dress, with Marisa wearing a mask or a lot of flashy make-up. Likewise, throughout the walk in the park, Marisa could easily have been wearing a large paper bag over her head.

In summary, there are two quite absorbing films buried away in here. One is about Christopher's senatorial campaign, which Stanley Tucci absolutely steals as his manager. The other is about the relationship between Marisa and her young son, also played well by Tyler Posey.

Christopher and Marisa are two characters who clearly have what it takes to makes a romantic comedy work, but perhaps with a less literally blinding prejudice to overcome, and a bit more time to meet each other.


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