Cast: Adam Sandler, Téa Leoni, Paz Vega, Cloris Leachman, Shelbie Bruce, Sarah Steele, Ian Hyland
Director: James L. Brooks
Rated: M low level coarse language
Running Time: 130 Minutes
A Comedy With A Language All Its Own.
John Clasky (Adam Sandler) is a devoted family man and celebrated chef. His wife Deborah (Téa Leoni) is a successful designer on the verge of a nervous breakdown at the notion of being a full-time housewife and mother. Deborah's mother Evelyn (Cloris Leachman) has a biting wit, her first chardonnay at midday and constantly clashes with her daughter. Enter Flor (Paz Vega), the housekeeper who speaks no English but comes to work for the Clasky's so she can provide for her daughter, Crisitina (Shelbie Bruce).
Firstly, you will not find Adam Sandler in idiot mode in 'Spanglish', but in a dramatic role similar to his successful "Punch Drunk Love" (2002). That's not to say that he doesn't have some dry, witty lines delivered in his usual deadpan style, but he does have some intelligence in 'Spanglish', which is where he deserves far more respect than his hapless no-brainer roles of which he became more known for. In 'Spanglish', Sandler is John Clasky, a devoted father and family man who runs his own restaurant. Téa Leoni is his wife, Deborah, who borders on hysterical as she comes to grips with becoming a stay-at-home mum, Téa milking the role for all it's worth. The Clasky's have two children and Deborah employs the non-English speaking Flor (Paz Vega) to become a housekeeper, which leads to many misunderstandings due to the language and culture barriers. Along for the ride is Cloris Leachman in the most delightful role as Deborah's mother Evelyn, who lives with the family and seems to always be popping up with advice, usually with wine glass in hand. And so 'Spanglish' continues as the Clasky's learn about Flor and her fiercely protected daughter Cristina, and Flor discovers a side of America she didn't think could exist, outside of her native Mexico, where she fled after her husband deserted her and Cristina.
'Spanglish' is comedy one minute, dramatic the next, not settling on one for too long and perhaps this is what keeps it moving along, albeit a little too long by the conclusion. The story is fairly predictable as Deborah strays from her marriage and John finds a kindred soul in Flor with all three struggling to realise just what they want from their life right at that moment, and what they want for their children. Mention here must also go to the two daughters -Sarah Steele as the Clasky's daughter, Bernice, in the role as the struggling, so-called overweight teenager, who isn't what Deborah yearned for in a daughter and who John finds hard to talk to, and Shelbie Bruce as the wise for her age Cristina. Evelyn declares herself alcohol free as the walls come tumbling down for Deborah and offers some sober advice, after spending much of the movie delivering perfect timed clever and sharp witty lines. It is Cloris Leachman who is the saviour of this movie having the time of her life in a role wholly suited to her style.
The big disappointment with 'Spanglish' is the conclusion, which didn't quite feel right considering the road travelled towards it, but some may find it satisfactory. Still, it is movie that was often very funny and deep and meaningful at other times as the culture and language barriers were crossed. Not an extraordinary movie but still a fun, endearingly enjoyable movie.
Rating : C+