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4/6/09

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Without doing any research I'm guessing that writer/director Chris Lusvardi is a child of the 80's. Man Maid an independent film made in 2008, feels exactly like a stereotypical 80's comedy. There's the so-called weak and/or nerdy lead male character, this time personified by Vincent, a cleaning man who works in a small town hotel. At the beginning of the film we see him taunted and teased by the hotel's customers. There's Chloe the beautiful girl he desires, who doesn't notice him for who he is, because of her no-good boyfriend. There's his stud best friend who can get any girl he wants. And finally there's the good girl Torry, who nobody pays attention too because she's boring and "plain" looking. Although obviously beautiful, outside the film. Then there's the array of goofy side characters who show up in the lead character's life to either help or hinder him along his hero's path.

With the help of one of those kooky side characters, here portrayed by a gum smacking maid and hotel prostitute, Vincent comes up with a plan to win the beautiful girl's heart by dating the plain girl. Of course he starts to fall for Torry, but doesn't want to admit it, only does so when his plan explodes in his face. He then comes up with a gigantic 80's movie plan to get her back; he's going to produce a benefit concert to raise $40,000 and save the hotel from evil developers. Don't think that I'm giving away anything with this review, if you've seen more than five movies, you know exactly where this story is going the whole time. This film might as well have been set in a high school and produced by John Hughes.

Being a huge fan of 80's comedies, I wouldn't have had a problem with Man Maid if they'd used a few of these old plot devices to bring us into the film, then turn them on their head and created something new. But this script was written long before the filmmakers ever picked up their first camera. There are the music montages; one showing us the love growing between Vincent and Torry and a couple more reminding us of what happened in the last thirty minutes, with inspirational quotes and all. We instantly know who the bad guy is because he wears a suit and hits on Torry in obnoxious ways. We're given Vincent's backstory about why he wants to be a maid, through cheesy soft-focus flashbacks. The film goes from A to B to C with nothing new in between.

I'll admit I was enjoying the movie for the first act. Most of the actors all do a decent job with their
cliché roles, they keep it fun for a while. (The film won best ensemble cast at the Ashland Independent Film Festival, where I saw it.) But once they get to the third act, and they're posting concert fliers around town and building a stage on Vincent's property, even they seem to get bored with the story, and the film ends with a thud. It's all put together with as little panache as possible. There's one moment where Vincent floats down the halls of the hotel behind his maid's cart, but beyond that, the camera angles are as plain as possible. The lighting of the film is too bright and flat, the editing as standard as possible. Man Maid is a film produced two decades too late. - Grade: C+




1 Response to Man Maid:

  1. Thanks alot for the review. Been waiting to see this one for over a year. Is it out on DVD yet? Where did you watch it at?

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