Critic Consensus: Paz Vega shines, and Adam Sandler gives a performance of thoughtfulness and depth, but Spanglish is ultimately undermined by sitcommy plotting and unearned uplift.
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as John Clasky
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Critic Reviews for Spanglish
There are signs that a lot has been cut, and in trimming his film Brooks may have squeezed too tight: his movie needs breathing space.
This is Hollywood liberal humanism as muted join-the-dots melodrama, all carefully calculated colouring, broad outlines, and no room for fruitful digression.
Vega radiates effortless strength and charm in her first Hollywood role, and Sandler proves to be a gratifyingly unpredictable leading man, self-effacing one moment and hilariously emphatic the other.
The film gets better as it goes along ... and all the characters, including Deborah, become more interesting and appealing as we get to know them better.
Brooks, fumbling around with too many characters and too many issues, can't find the heart of the story or give heart to the part of it he chose to focus on.
Audience Reviews for Spanglish
An interesting ensemble piece with wonderful performances by all concerned. One of Sandler's best, Leoni a diamond of neediness, Leachman ... one of my all time favs, and Vega perhaps the strong center of the film as, of all things, the Mexican maid (what, they couldn't find any Mexicans in L.A. to play a Mexican?). Although it lacks something ... maybe ... it's still better than most cut-and-dried romcoms.
"Spanglish" is the lesser of James L. Brooks' directorial efforts mainly because he is trying so obviously for cultural commentary. His films are better when he is showing a character's nuance objectively ("As Good As It Gets"). While "Spanglish" is not a bad film by any stretch of the imagination, it just does not go as far as it should. It's narrative is hindered by the way it's delivered and it unfortunately keeps us at a bit of an arms length from the characters. I enjoyed all the performances, especially Tea Leoni for being so aggressively unlikable, but in the end, you never have much to truly tether yourself to.
The ever amazing dramatic performance of Sandler, the desperaging Leoni, and the foolhard Vega all work in tandem very well.
|Flor:||“No space between us!"|
|Flor:||No space between us!|
|Evelyn:||Lately, your low self-esteem is just good common sense.|
|John Clasky:||They should name a gender after you. Looking at you doesn't do it. Staring is the only way that makes any sense. And trying not to blink, so you don't miss anything. And all of that, and you're YOU.|
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