Courtesy of Cinema Seattle was able to see a preview of Spanglish tonight. I went in thinking I would not like it at all or be ambivalent at best but I came out really enjoying it. What follows may contain spoilers so do not say you were not warned. 🙂
I guess I should say a few things about what the movie is and is not. First and foremost it is not a Adam Sandler traditional comedy. It is also not as serious as Punch Drunk Love. To be fair Sandler’s role is almost a supporting role to Paz Vega and Téa Leoni. In fact if it is you and a bunch of guys going out on a Saturday night this might not be the movie for you. It is in fact a chick flick. Now I do not say that to deter any guys out there from seeing it as the story is great and there is enough comedy to keep you going. Women will definitely identify and enjoy it more in my opinion. James L. Brooks does have a hit on his hands.
The plot of the story is that of Paz Vega as Flora brings her daughter to America from Mexico to live a better life, if you will. From the second her daughter is old enough to do boy/girl things she realizes that she needs to quit one of her two jobs and be there for her daughter in addition to being a watchful eye. This means taking on a different job that pays more money and this is where she enters the life of the Clasky’s; Deborah & John (Leoni & Sandler), their two kids, and Deborah’s mother, as their housekeeper. Flora speaks little to no English and while they use this point for some of the comedy it is not done at all in an insulting way. Deborah is very dysfunctional and tends to only think of thinks from her point of view. John is a very successful chef. Flora works her way into their lives and come the summer time they want to bring her with them to their beach house. It is at this point they find out that Flora has a daughter (nice family not to have ever tried to ask but I guess the communication barrier was the issue) but they convince her to bring her along. Deborah thinking only of herself takes Flora daughter under her wing and does not consider the fact of how this will affect Flora. At the same time John becomes infatuated with the beautiful Flora. Issues in working with the family cause her to finally learn English. More medaling by Deborah in Flora’s daughter’s life, such as getting her into the same private school her own daughter goes to, cause Flora to decide she needs to quit this job and get her daughter out of their lives. The same night that this happens Deborah reveals to John that she is has had an affair. This of course throws John off and he needs to go out for a drive only to bump into Flora on the way out and he convinces her to come with him. They go to his restaurant where he confesses his infatuation for her. They kiss a few times but she has enough strength and wisdom to insist that things go no further.
I am glad in the end that they did not wrap up the plot with John leaving his cheating and dysfunctional wife to go and live with Flora. In the end you have the powerful Flora still doing what was best for her daughter and the love that they share. There was also an underlying theme of the daughter/mother relationship with Deborah and her mother.
I probably did not do a great job describing this movie. It really was good. There are sneak previews this weekend and I think it starts up a week from this Friday.