SPANGLISH



      A Mexican immigrant (Paz Vega) and her daughter move in with a wealthy family on the beach for the summer as their housekeeper.  The husband and wife duo of the family (Sandler and Leoni)are having marriage difficulties and a new culture suddenly being forced into their lives may be just what they need....or do they?  Without telling too much of the story, it's just all about two cultures living in the same house with two different sets of problems.  The two cultures can sometimes help problems, but they can also distract from what's important in life.

     The character development in this story was fantastic, and the chemistry between the actors was also terrific; especially between Sandler & Vega.  The sexual tension between the two was so thick you could swim in it.  This is not like any other Sandler film I have seen.   Besides his other attempt at Drama, "Punch Drunk Love," all of his films have been silly comedy.  Not this one.  In "Spanglish," he is just a regular nice guy with some depth, trying to make his life work; especially his home-life and kids.  Leoni's character, Deborah, is...well, a whack-job.  Her over the top performance is brilliant, and helped make the movie what it was.

     "Although a portion of the film is in Spanish, there are no subtitles; they're not necessary.  Usually the meaning of the interaction is clear, but when a translator is needed, one appears, often with comic results.  To Brooks' credit, he prepared for this film by surrounding himself with Latinos and immersing himself in their culture in order to make Flor (Vega) and Cristina (the daughter) as authentic characters as possible,  not Latinas-as-imagined-by-Hollywood-white-guy.  When we first see Deborah through Flor's eyes, we understand why so many other cultures are freaked out and sometimes repulsed by Americans' narcissism and lack of boundaries.  Granted, Deborah is an extreme example, but she does embody Americans' overwhelming self-centeredness."

     Although not a comedy, "Spanglish" does deliver some laughs, and it is simply a charming film about life and its ups, downs, accomplishments, failures, rewards, consequences and above all how to treat people.  And even though it's not a five star effort, I was thoroughly entertained and learned a lesson or two about life.  Spanglish delivers on a number of levels, and I highly recommend this drama any night of the week.

Links:
Official site
Spanglish at imdb
Rotten Tomatoes looks at Spanglish












drewbacca@moviepatron.com