Can a wealthy Republican politician find happiness with a chambermaid from the Bronx? One man is about to find out, though he hardly realizes it at first, in this romantic comedy from director Wayne Wang. Marisa Ventura (Jennifer Lopez) is a single mother who is raising her gifted but under-confident son Ty (Tyler Garcia Posey) on her own, with some help from her mother Veronica (Priscilla Lopez), after divorcing her husband. Marisa works as a housekeeper at the exclusive Beresford Hotel in Manhattan, where her boss Paula Burns (Frances Conroy) and chief butler Lionel Bloch (Bob Hoskins) urge Marisa and her best friend and fellow maid Stephanie (Marissa Matrone) to be as efficient and inconspicuous as possible. One day, while cleaning the room of noted socialite Caroline Lane (Natasha Richardson), Stephanie spies a beautiful designer gown and dares Marisa to try it on; against her better judgment, she does, and while all dolled up, she bumps into Christopher Marshall (Ralph Fiennes), a wealthy and well-bred bachelor who is running for the Senate.
Czechoslovakian immigrant Karel Novak fulfills his dream of coming to America only to learn at Ellis Island the entrance fee has been raised from $50 to $200. Unable to pay, he is put on a ship going back to Holland, but jumps off, swimming to Manhattan, and losing his wallet on shore. He is elated at what he sees, the skyscrapers, the automobiles and the opulence. While stealing doughnuts from a lunch table for girls rehearsing for a show, he befriends 19-year-old chorus girl, Sylvia Dennis, who then lets him sleep on the roof of her apartment building.
Joel McCrea plays a hotshot reporter who thinks he knows everything and Jean Arthur plays an actress who puts one over on him. It turns out the financier of her play is a notorious art collector who steals what he can't buy and the play he's financing is just a front for a job he is planning.