Spanglish Movie Review : Cast pulls movie Together!

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Spanglish is James L. Brooks follow up to the awesomely acted As Good as it Gets, and while the performances here are nowhere near as good as Jack Nicholson's and Helen Hunt's, this new cast pulls it off in the acting department, and is Brooks the one that fails with his story and the characters he created.

We have Paz Vega as Flor, the protagonist of the movie, she moves to the US from his natal Mexico with her young daughter (Cristina) and goes to work for the Clasky family composed by John (Adam Sandler) and Deborah (Tea Leoni) who are joined by their son (who's barely two minutes in the movie and is not part of anything that happens), their also young daughter Bernice, and Deborah's mother Evelyn (Cloris Leachman).

Those are the players, so what happens? We have a few different subplots between them that don't make for a good story when put together.

First of all, Flor doesn't speak any English, so for a big part of the movie, we have her only speaking in Spanish (not translated which turned out great), not understanding completely what's going on with the family she works for, but knowing that they're all having problems. Those problems include mostly Deborah, who is just crazy and hurts everybody around her without noticing, like by giving Bernice clothes that don't fit her so since she's a little chubby she'll want to lose weight to wear the clothes.
At the same time, John is given an award as the Best Chef in the country, but for some reason he can't take the pressure, and we get all these scenes of him just getting worked up about it and getting frustrated and it's just unjustified and over reacted.

At this point we get the family moving to their beach house or something and taking Flor with them, and making her bring Cristina with her (who they hadn't met yet) so she would accept.

Now with Cristina in the picture the players have more problems. Deborah totally loved her and gives her total attention while ignoring Bernice completely. She also starts having an affair with her realtor.

Flor gets mad because of Deborah's actions, as she gets Cristina in a private school and Flor feels she's being transformed by the Americans and that she's going to lose her roots (which seems to be what Cristina wants). She gets very preoccupied and even starts to learn English so she can manage herself and protect her daughter better.

That preoccupation gets John interested in her. He doesn't know Deborah is having an affair but knows that she's just a terrible mother, and so seeing Flor protect her daughter like this, plus Flor's beauty, make him fall in love with her. Evelyn's participation is mostly for laughs and that's it because we know nothing about her other than she drinks a lot, and like Deborah, she wasn't a good mother either.

The acting by Paz Vega is great, struggling with her daughter and the language barrier. Adam Sandler is ok, but his character is just a normal, likeable guy that we don't really care for. Tea Leoni plays Deborah like the crazy person she is, and it's great acting, but the character is just a bad person and we don't care about her either.

By the end of the movie we get a story that falls apart, that doesn't teach us anything and that it's just no good, so we end up just not caring for any of them.

Review by Hakeem!


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