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douggimmick

Spanglish

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I had hoped to see a topic on the forum about Spanglish. Is this movie just that bad, or is everyone's time spent on discussing the huge influx of films in the next two weeks (like the lovely/"crappity" Flight of the Phoenix - SDG, my wife laughed her head off when she read that line in the FOTP post!)?

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How's this for a tagline: "As aimless as life itself -- but with a few more laughs, of the easy sitcom variety." That would certainly be more representative of the film than anything in the film's poster -- especially if it were translated into Spanish.

I admire Adam Sandler for continuing to make films that are more than just star vehicles, but despite what you might think, he isn't the main character in this one (a slap on the wrist to the marketing team), and I don't think he is anything like the ideal actor for this particular role (a slap on the wrist to the casting agent). T


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Haven't posted on the board for a while, but I'm curious to see some more feedback on this film...

I actually thought that Spanglish was quite good. Not perfect by any means, but I found a lot to enjoy in this one.

However, I just received a very strongly worded email horrified and offended that I would recommend the film (in response to my review in WORLD). Due to WORLD's audience, I see plenty of complaints about innappropriate content in films I review, and they don't normally bother me. This one, though, was from a pastor who chose to make his criticism very personal and pointed.

Anyone else have an opinion on Spanglish?

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I didn't like it. It wasn't terrible, but for the most part it was rather uneventful. Adam Sandler was good in is role, and there were a few scattered laughs, but there was nothing terribly engaging about any of the conflicts in the film.

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I agree with a lot of Peter's comments. Adam Sandler was likeable, but he didn't have enough acting chops to pull of the key dramatic moments in the film. Having said that, I think Brooks did a good job of getting the best performance out of Sandler in the confrontation scene with Leoni's character.

Spoilers

I thought that scene, the scene between Sandler and Moreno (Flor) at the restaurant was well-written and directed. They reminded me of the really good dramatic moments in Broadcast News. Unlike BN, this film was not as focused, as Peter mentioned. Better actors (although Leoni was fine) would have helped I think. Unlike Peter, I would have liked to have seen another actor cast--for example, Lumi Cavazos, the lead in Like Water for Chocolate and the cleaning lady in Bottle Rocket. I think she has a star quality that makes her likeable. She's also not as voluptuous as Moreno, and she's more believeable as a cleaning woman. I think Ed Norton would have made a nice match with her, too. He can do the tender, sensitive guy thing, and he definitely has the chops for the key dramatic moments.

By the way, I also loved some of Leachman's lines, especially the ones that punctuated the scenes (i.e. "This time your poor self-esteem is just common sense" or something to that effect).

But I enjoyed this film, and I thought that it would have been more appropriate in a TV series. I would have been interested in seeing these characters and relationships develop over a series, but Brooks tried to deal with all of this in one film (I wanted to know more about Bernie and her relationship with her parents. Indeed, in the early part of the film, I thought she was a central character.) In my review I wrote the film reminded me of a pilot for a TV program that crammed everything in for fear it would not be picked up.

Still, the writing and the dramatic moments were quite good I thought, even with its flaws.

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It was better than I had anticipated, but it was just a tad too long for the material. I enjoyed it, but didn't love it. You're right ... the writing seemed quite solid and yet the film did have a little bit of a "TV" feel.

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This is one of those films whose effort at being slightly different make the flaws almost forgivable.

Almost.

While I was pleased with the moral direction of the film, I was constantly annoyed by dilaogue that was supposed to be quirky but just played as bizarre.

John (sandler): Just do it or I'll set my hair on fire and punch myself in the face!

Head waiter: What.

John: You're right, that was a strange way to communicate my frustration.

[End scene]

Me: hunh?

I thought the casting was very good accept for Sandler. HJe just got loud and goofty when the emotions were out of his range. I'd like to see Peter Weir het his hands on this guy. I liked all the new faces. Lots of talent there. I especially liked Bernice, the heavy-set daughter. The moments with her seemed to have the most heart.

At times, they played the cultural differences quite nicely, Flor and her sister look on as 200 SUV's pick up the white kids from the private school. And other times, those moments felt like a clumsy civics lesson. When Deb gives Flor's sister $20 for running into the glass door, it broke from any reality I've experienced and proclaimed loudly "White folks think they can buy their way out of any problem!"

I liked the film. A bit. But Brooks is far to experienced a director to allow some of the moments that clearly DID NOT work to remain in the final cut.

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That's a damn fine sandwich recipe, tho. And I only used regular wheat bread, greenleef lettuce, and american cheese rather than the recommended highbrow ingredients. And they're right about not breaking the yolk until you cut the sandwich! YUM!

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Dan,

You wrote,

I'd like to see Peter Weir het his hands on this guy.

Exactly! I always feel that Weir did this for Gibson, Ford, Williams, and Carrey, and I would love for him to grab guys like Sandler and pull better acting out of them than anyone ever thought they had in them.

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Yeah, he's got a knack for that. And he makes damn fine films as well. I'd love to see what he could do with Owen Wilson.

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Screenplay problems: Over-written, under-developed.

Actor problems: Leoni, Leachman.

Main strength:

Believable temptation to adultery, believably stepped away from

Lots of scenes that worked wonderfully - e.g. Flor's daughter translating the confrontation between Flor and Sandler's character - but the whole was less than the sum of its parts.


I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

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I don't think Leachman or Leoni were problems. The problem had more to do with a lack of time, a lack of clarity on who these characters were or both. I think Brooks had too many characters and relationships and possible stories to deal with in one film, unless it was fours long. That's why I thought this might make an interesting TV series. I liked the manic, quirky quality Leoni brought to the film. But I didn't think Brooks had enough time or gave enough time to let the audience know what made her tick.

If any actors were problematic, it was Sandler and the actor who played Flor. She was just way too hot for the role. I think the actor in *Like Water for Chocolate* and *Bottle Rocket* would have been better suited for the role. She's very attractive, but not in such a sexy way.

And while Sandler is likeable, an actor better chops would have been better, say someone like Ed Norton.

The whole cultural differences seemed kind of phony, too.

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