It turns out that the makers of this film chose quite an apt title. The word "Spanglish" refers to the pidgin that native Spanish speakers often use before they become proficient in English. It's not quite English, but it's not Spanish either. Similarly, this film couldn't seem to decide what it was. The overall structure of the movie makes it clear that it's about cultural identity and heritage, a juxtaposition between Mexican and American life. Yet we only really see this at the very beginning and very end. The entire rest of the film seems to be about relationships and parenting. The problem is that too much of the story is told from Adam Sandler's character's point of view, or his wife's. The characters that should be in focus--the Mexican housekeeper and her daughter--are kept distant by the fact that the housekeeper doesn't speak English and nothing is ever shown from the daughter's perspective. So we are left with what we think is a somewhat odd love story--or, rather, two odd love stories in parallel--that remains completely unresolved. Even so, the film was not completely without redeeming qualities. Adam Sandler was good as a benevolent father, though not so believable as a romantic figure. Téa Leoni was very good as Sandler's neurotic wife, to the point where I almost began to dislike Leoni herself. And Paz Vega was probably the best of all; I'm somewhat interested to see what else she's done. The movie, for the most part, kept me entertained. But that really only serves to make the ending that much more disappointing.

Viewed: 12/23/2004 | Released: 12/16/2004 | Score: C

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