Projections - Movie Reviews

Starring: Adam Sandler, Téa Leone, Paz Vega, Victoria Luna, Sarah Steele and Cloris Leachman

Director James L. Brooks’ new film lets Adam Sandler shine. He’s sensitive, sweet and above all, in control; it's his best work to date. In a movie studded with very good performances, Sandler plays John Clasky, a chef who owns a successful California restaurant. He’s married to Deborah (Téa Leone) a self-absorbed, sniveling, spoiled woman who is out of control. They have two children, a boy of about 10 who sings old jazz tunes with his live-in grandmother (Cloris Leachman) and a pre-teen daughter.

Their lives change when Flora (Paz Vega - resembling Penelope Cruz), a Mexican housekeeper, is hired. She speaks no English and they speak no Spanish, they communicate with limits, until her young daughter (Victoria Luna) moves in with the family during a Summer vacation and acts as Flora's translator.

Flora brings a sense of old fashioned values with her, which are sorely missing in the Clasky household. She works very hard to keep her daughter grounded with her traditions while the materialistic nonsense whirls around her and her admiration for Clasky grows. Grandmother Evelyn is a alcoholic who begins drinking before noon, daughter Bernie (Sarah Steele) is a sweetheart, but she’s trying to cope with a difficult private school and a weight problem which her mother points to every chance she gets. High strung Deborah who breaks down with every self-made crisis and finally, John, who refuses to cope with the chaos around him but patches up the holes regularly. Against this out of control family backdrop, the lovely Flora seems all the more appealing.

Each character is well developed and interesting, except for Leone’s Deborah. She’s so manic, extreme and flighty that her fine performance is beyond our ability to relate to.

Vega is terrific, sometimes fiery, sometimes quietly taking in her surroundings and making tough decisions and Sandler has evolved from the man/child character he's known for to one who expresses a wide range of emotion.

Spanglish takes a house full of uniquely different people and brings them together with warmth, some laughter and true feelings.


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