Spanglish

Year: 2004
Directed By: James L. Brooks
Written By: James L. Brooks

RYAN’S REVIEW

This movie made it into the collection because it was a favorite of Amber’s. It’s not a movie I would ever watch by myself but I think there is a lot to like about it. It’s not at the level of James L Brooks most famous family drama, Terms of Endearment, but it’s a quaint movie that is easy to enjoy.

One reason I find this movie interesting comes from a personal experience I had long ago. When I was 20 years old I spent a summer working with my brother as the only white guy among his crew of Spanish speaking workers. It was hard work and I didn’t let my connection to the boss slow me down. I was amazed by the energy and work ethic of my peers enough to work harder than I have ever worked before. A few of the other guys spoke English but several spoke little to none at all. What I found most interesting is that by the end of the summer the language barrier didn’t pose such a problem anymore. I found that just talking to them as I would anybody else seemed to work. The level of communication was low but we could at least understand each other enough to work together. I never learned to speak Spanish but that summer is one I will always remember fondly and try to learn from.

Adam Sandler was one of my favorite comedians when I was a kid but I can’t stand to watch any of his movies as an adult and avoid them altogether. No matter what you do you simply can’t be a teenager again and find his antics funny like you did when you were young. I for one think Sandler has much more to offer than the stupid comedies he persists at. This movie is evidence of that because he shows so much potential as a serious actor not trying to be funny. I think that is Sandler’s problem in a nutshell, he tries too hard to be funny. I think the funniest people are the ones that make comedy effortless. They don’t have to try so hard because they are naturally funny. Sandler has made a fortune being the funny guy but I think he over does it far too often and has little to offer the mature movie fan.

The reason I don’t like this movie very much starts and stops with Tea Leoni. I don’t like her character and I don’t like her. Her promiscuous and obtuse character is just awful to watch and sit through. The way she treats her daughter, mother, and husband are all just too unpleasant for me. I can’t stand infidelity and in this movie she’s just such a selfish bitch about it. I can’t stand her and it’s the main reason I don’t like this movie very much. Maybe if a different actress was cast it would be different but Leoni just seems too comfortable and natural in this type of role for me.

While Paz Vega is excellent in this movie I think the top actress has to be Cloris Leachman. She is such a prolific and talented comedian. I love her drunken grandmother role in this movie and find it especially funny when she quits drinking and nobody notices. Her response that she must have been a really awesome drunk is just priceless.

This is a good enough movie but I don’t think anything about necessarily stands out and puts it apart from any other family drama/comedy out there. Before watching it I had actually mixed up part of it with This is 40 and I think that pretty much sums it up for me. It’s just another movie too much like too many others out there. I can’t stand watching it because of Tea Leoni but maybe you will feel differently. I don’t think this movie is worth my time but you may like it more than I did so don’t take my word for it.

NEXT MOVIE: Spartacus (1960)

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