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7 reviews

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Movie Details

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Directed By
James L. Brooks

Written By:
James L. Brooks

Adam Sandler, Tea Leoni, Paz Vega, Cloris Leachman, Ian Hyland

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Spanglish (2004)
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Movie Review by Matthew
June 22nd, 2005

Brain circuits, reconnecting. Reality, resurfacing. Noises in head, stopping. Aaaaahhhhhhh!. Back to normal. Hopefully, the nightmares will stop.

Deborah Clasky (Tea Leoni, Mrs. David Duchovny. Let's face it, she isn't known for her work in movies.), is the…

Uh, oh. Didn't get far. Brain circuits breaking free, disconnecting from the matter, won't let me remember Tea Leoni's God awful performance in "Spanglish", the newest film from writer – director James L. Brooks ("Broadcast News", "Terms of Endearment"). Move on to another topic before brain shuts down and the drool starts.

Remember when James L. Brooks used to make really good films for adults? I know, its getting a little difficult, but make good films he did. "Terms of Endearment" and "Broadcast News" earned a bucket load of award nominations and awards for the various stars involved. Why? Because they were good films, with somewhat believable characters who did funny things or lived through very dramatic events. In the last decade, he has made three films. One of these was "As Good As It Gets" and sort of made people forget the debacle of "I'll Do Anything", his "musical without music" starring Nick Nolte. Then he made "Spanglish".

…matriarch of an affluent family living in Brentwood. Recently downsized, she finds she has a lot of time on her hands and naturally decides to hire a housekeeper.

Why won't the voices stop? What? Leoni's shrill voice is still rattling around in my head? What? Stop it, Tea. Leave my brain immediately. I need to finish the review in order to purge the demons…

From the moment we meet Deborah, we realize that something is wrong with this woman; she talks a mile a minute, she never shuts up for anyone, she appears to be taking some sort of medication, perhaps Speed, but no mention is ever made of this. So what is the excuse for her to act like this? Even if she were taking medication, it would take a lot of explanation to make her behavior acceptable. Her daughter, Bernie (Sarah Steele), a slightly pudgy young girl with braces, makes a sandwich which everyone loves. Deborah takes a bite and practically swoons and then says "But you really don't need that", referring to her daughter's slightly pudgy state. Later, having returned from a warehouse sale, Deborah presents her daughter with bags full of new clothes. Excitedly, Bernie starts to try them on and realizes they are too small, all a size 8. "Don't worry, honey. You'll fit into them real soon." Groan. The woman is a monster and shouldn't be allowed to raise these kids. Their son only appears in two or three scenes. Apparently, there was no dramatic material there.

John Clasky (Adam Sandler) wakes up the next morning to find Flor (Paz Vega) cleaning the house. He didn't realize that Deborah -- the voices are ringing again -- had hired someone. John owns a small restaurant (modeled after the French Laundry, Thomas Keller's restaurant) which is receiving a lot of good praise. John learns that Flor speaks no English, but she does understand quite a bit. Flor is amazed to see how Deborah treats Bernie and takes all of the clothes, letting out hems and fixing them, to make them fit. This makes Flor Bernie's new best friend. Evelyn (Cloris Leachman), Deborah's mom, a former Jazz singer who lives with the family is intent on drinking as much wine during any given day as possible and providing sage advice to her daughter as she see fit. As the summer approaches, Deborah decides to rent a summer house in Malibu…

Does not compute. Why would someone in Brentwood rent a summer home in Malibu? It doesn't make any sense. The weather is so much colder in Brentwood during the summer? If you are unfamiliar with the two, they are about ten to fifteen miles apart. Unfortunately, I am aware that people actually do this. Worse yet, as soon as they move, it becomes apparent that John will continue to commute to his restaurant. Business is booming because he just received four stars from the Times. The place is booked solid for four months. And Deborah, with her shrill, puffy face, crying all the time, screaming, or worse yet, talking a mile a minute, will continue to drive around, looking for something to occupy her time.

Deborah insists Flor move into the summer house with them. Flor's daughter, Cristina (Shelbie Bruce), has to move in as well. Deborah immediately latches onto the young girl and treats her like a life size Barbie doll, making her the new ‘project'. She takes her to have her hair highlighted, to see a private school, etc., all without Flor's knowledge. Naturally, the first thing any of us would do is allow someone like Deborah to repeatedly influence our child, after watching the success she has had in her relationship with her own daughter, Bernie.

Brain at critical stage. Meltdown imminent. Must purge it of all thoughts of Leoni's performance. Must finish review. Quickly.

It won't fit. Please read the full review at thornhillatthemovies.com

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