Review: Spanglish (2004)

Spanglish (2004)

Directed by: James L. Brooks | 125 minutes | drama, comedy, romance | Actors: Adam Sandler, Téa Leoni, Paz Vega, Cloris Leachman, Shelbie Bruce, Sarah Steele, Ian Hyland, Victoria Luna, Cecilia Suárez, Ricardo Molina, Brenda Canela, Eddy Martin, Nicole Nieth, Jamie Kaler, James Lancaster

A movie with a tagline like Every family has a hero saddles himself in advance with a heavy burden. The viewer has to unearth the wisdom of life himself and they should not be sold too explicitly as – the only – truth, is the humble opinion of this viewer. The soup is not eaten as hot during ‘Spanglish’ as ​​the subtitle suggests, but the plate is almost overflowing.

Spanglish – referring to the language problems in the film – is a romantic comedy from the school of James Brooks, known for ‘As Good as it Gets’, a deviant film with a smile and a tear that goes slightly over the sentimental; let that now also apply to ‘Spanglish’. Brooks is a pro, there’s very little talk in his films and the actors are still in good shape. The balance in ‘Spanglish’ leans slightly more towards comedy and that is thanks to the outstanding Leoni, who is not only the pivot of the Clasky family, but also the star of ‘Spanglish’. It takes a lot more effort to see any light in the mountain of feel-good that you get poured over you during the first half of the film: beautiful proud modest Mexican with sweet daughter moves in with a neurotic secret that the life of her dear husband and something too fat but always sweet daughter of her compelling presence. Brooks does little to peel off the sentimental layer and it takes a long time for the characters to get a little more nuance; once again it’s Téa Leoni who beats her colleagues, in a role reminiscent of Annette Bening’s in ‘American Beauty’. Hubby John has already kissed his Cinderella and it is a little too obvious that he is the right pear – which does not alter the fact that Adam Sandler can interpret it well; Paz Vega – just like Flor in the film, she barely mastered the English language – leaves a somewhat light impression with her freshness and small amount of text. However, the quality moment she shares with Sandler towards the end is more than worth it.

Brooks confirms his reticence with overly complicated situations at the end by choosing answers where the film only raises dilemmas (pride versus money; love versus duty); that’s why ‘Spanglish’ has become a snack after all. A very sympathetic one, but you probably already thought that.

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