Adam Sandler does two kinds of movies:
those in which he makes use of a funny voice (Little Nicky, Mr.
Deeds, The Waterboy, Happy Gilmore, Billy Madison) and those in
which he doesn't use a funny voice (Punch Drunk Love, The Wedding
Singer, 50 First Dates). Some Adam Sandler fans only like the
funny-voice Adam Sandler. Others only like the non-funny voice
Adam Sandler. Spanglish does not have Adam Sandler using a
That should be enough information to decide whether to
see the film or not for anyone who's seen all of Adam Sandler's movies.
For those of you who haven't seen them all, the Masked Reviewer will now
try to give some extra information.
The film isn't a romantic comedy, first of all. It's a family
film. Adam Sandler plays his typical nice guy character. Has
he ever played anything else? There's something suspicious about a
guy who only plays nice guys. Is he trying too hard? Maybe
he's not really nice. Has Adam Sandler ever helped you move a
couch? Has he ever invited you over to watch TV? Has he
stopped by the side of the road when you had a flat? Probably not.
It's all a big ruse.
Anyway, it's a family story and the other characters in the film (who
are almost all women) are played by actors who all give good
performances. Paz Vega plays Flor (no relation to the God of
Thunder). Shelbie Bruce and Sarah Steele, both adolescent girls,
have big roles (it's a family film, after all) and they are both
excellent, though very different. Cloris Leachman plays Adam
Sandler's mother-in-law and she gives a top notch performance. She
is, in fact, one of the highlights of the movie. Tea Leoni (who
you might remember from such films as Flirting with Disaster, Bad
Boys, and Jurassic Park III) plays a highly neurotic and kind
of unlikable mother, but she does a convincing job too.
There are a lot of little interwoven stories in this film, but it's
like one of those potholders you make in summer camp: the individual
pieces are woven together tightly in the center, but on the edges, the
whole thing is falling apart. None of the stories are followed
through. It's also hard to tell what's the A story and what's the
B story (much less the C and D stories). Though the narrator is
Flor's daughter, she's not the focus. Love stories, family
turmoil, sexual tension...it comes and goes but nothing is seen through
The movie has a few funny scenes, probably the strongest is a scene
with Adam Sandler, Paz Vega, and Shelbie Bruce featuring an argument
being translated in real time. It's almost like being at the U.N.!
The langauge barrier is a major plot device in the film, although
it's not always convincing. Does someone who has only been
speaking English for a few weeks understand "evaporated" and "brain
cells" but have no idea what "hang out" means?
The movie suffers the most from being much too long. It's just
about two hours long, whereas 90 minutes would have been more than
enough. It needed to be pruned back...there's a lot of wasted
time. In fact, all of the time seems wasted when you consider that
it's hard to tell what the movie is actually about. No wonder it
While there are a few good scenes and the acting is generally good,
it's not Adam Sandler's best work. He plays his typical "aw
shucks" nice guy, but the funny moments are few and far between and the
dramatic moments aren't moving. He's a better romantic lead than
family man, and the romance parts were poorly executed. The talent
in the film was wasted on a convoluted script; they would have been
better used in Happy Gilmore 2. There's not enough drama,
not enough comedy, not enough romance, and yet it's much more than long
Expectation from the Title: In writing the lyrics for the
national anthem, Francis Scott key got stuck on the title. He
needed to find a word to describe the amount of stars on the banner, but
he had trouble finding it.
Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):
Adam Sandler always seems to be a nice young man.
The Pros: Strong performances by the lead characters (although
it's hard to tell if Tea Leoni is brilliant at acting neurotic or simply
is neurotic). Occasional funny lines.
The Cons: Unfocused script, much too long. Too many
loose ends in half-explored plot points. Better editing would have
helped a lot.
If you're looking for information on Tia
Leone, Chloris Leachman, Pazz Vega, or Shelbe Bruce, read above!