Like most various-artists compilations released as soundtrack albums, Maid in Manhattan's "music from the motion picture" collection comes off, in a listening unrelated to a viewing of the film itself, as a random miscellany of pop songs. If you have actually seen the movie, however, it makes a bit more sense. One of the character details, for example, is that the grade-school son of the main character has been studying the 1970s and become obsessed with it, so that, although he is a Hispanic living in the Bronx, he listens to things like Bread's "The Guitar Man" on his personal stereo. (His interest in Simon and Garfunkel leads to the use of Paul Simon's Latin-tinged "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard," and Eva Cassidy's remake of the duo's "Kathy's Song.") The plot, a modern Cinderella story concerning a hotel maid, may justify the inclusion of self-help titles like "I'm Coming Out" (oddly, in both Diana Ross' original and a new, soundalike remake), Teena Marie's "Lovergirl," the Pointer Sisters' "Yes We Can Can," and a bowdlerized remake of Jefferson Starship's "Miracles." Newly recorded or contemporary tracks by Kelly Rowland, Glenn Lewis, Norah Jones, and Daniel Bedingfield give the soundtrack a current feel. (There are no performances by the film's star, Jennifer Lopez.) Typically for an album of this sort, a smidgen of Alan Silvestri's actual score is included in two cues adding up to less than six minutes of music. His title music makes for an attractive mixture of Latin percussion and rhythms with orchestral elements, while "At Last" is a collection of bland, heartwarming themes. Such are the possible justifications for what is here, and those who enjoyed the film may find the result an entertaining souvenir. On its own, however, it remains a random miscellany of pop songs.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann