We saw Spanglish yesterday. I liked the movie, but it’s the kind of film you need to see a few times (like James L Brooks’ others—“Good as it Gets” and “Terms of Endearment”) to pick up (what I call) the big messages. There are so many subtle and powerful scenes, it’s difficult to digest in one sitting.
Clearly, the writing far eclipses the acting. In previous films, Brooks had Jack and (nutty but brilliant) Shirley MacLaine to deliver his lines. No one, other than Cloris Leachman, is up to the task of echoing such powerful thoughts. I wanted to like Adam Sandler (being a huge fan of his inane comedies), but he’s a dramatic work in progress. He did a nice turn in “Punch Drunk Love,” but director Paul Anderson must have given Sandler a lot of runway to act crazy. In Spanlish, Sandler is far more restrained.
On the other hand, Tea Leoni, is either a great actor or a pitiful actor. If she is great, she made this less than sympathetic role come alive; on the other hand, she might just be overbearing and a nasty scenery chewer ala Kevin Kline.
This reviewer gives it three somethings: