SpanglishNot what I expected, but very worth watching, Spanglish is written and directed by James L Brooks, the man behind As Good as it Gets and producer of The Simpsons.
A very funny guy, and obviously someone who's very confident in his own style and humour.
I say that because there were some things in Spanglish that just didn't make sense to me, and yet they were funny. For example: "Stop talking to me or I'm going to set my hair on fire and punch myself in the face!"
Why is Spanglish not what I expected? Because it's a romantic comedy that goes against romance... Adam Sandler's character is married, which makes you uncomfortable right from the get-go. This is not Bridges of Madison County.
In the special features Brooks says he wanted to "make decency sexy" and it works. You feel just how hard it is for two people who are attracted to each other, but cannot "go there" because he's married, they both have kids, etc. Wonderful to see that from Hollywood!
Starring Adam Sandler, I was expecting belly laughs. Instead I got several crisscrossing personal stories with a real sense of reality about them. I'd categorise it more of a dramedy than a comedy, but then it had more laugh-out-loud moments the second time around (listening to the commentary).
I think this would be a hard first film to pitch, because it's very hard to pin down what the film's actually about. There are lots of characters, all with their own issues and story arcs, and I was confused that the narrator was Cristina (the Mexican daughter) but the main characters were actually Flor (Paz Vega) and John (Adam Sandler).
Shelbie Bruce as Cristina was simply amazing. So was Sarah Steele as Bernice - amazing that she gained weight for this role, a very dicey thing for a young actress to do, but her father's a nutritionist, so you do what you can.
The numbers... hmmm, seems this didn't do so well at the BO... $80 million budget, only $54 million in takings! Yikes that's nasty!
Oh! And only 52% on the tomatometer... tragic, it really is. It's the kind of story that either gets you, or it doesn't. What got me was not really the main story, but the mother-daughter dynamic between Flor and Cristina, probably because I see it in Marie and her mum (the child translates for the parent, and therefore enters the adult world too early).
Still, if you read the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes they're not quiet opinions. This was a film that people either really liked or really didn't. I recommend checking it out for yourself if any of this has caught your attention.
And if all else fails, there is a scene with a beautiful sandwich which, if anything, will make you incredibly hungry.
Gotta go get some lunch now...