Review: ‘Spanglish’ reveals a dysfunctional rainbow

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By Kelly Dolejsi

There are some really great Adam Sandler movies and then, as though to balance out the cinematic universe, some really tacky ones, where everyone looks embarrassed.
But “Spanglish” is one of the greats.
When Flor Moreno (Paz Vega) and her daughter Christina (Shelbie Bruce) leave Mexico, they want something familiar, some place similar to home where Flor won’t have to learn another language, another culture and a whole new way of thinking. They choose Los Angeles and assimilate quickly into their new neighborhood, which is American only latitudinally.
But when Flor finds work as a housekeeper for an upper class, Caucasian family, she must finally admit that she is on the other side of a very dysfunctional rainbow.
Gourmet chef John Clasky (Adam Sandler) and his wife Deborah (Tea Leoni) have a lovely, sunny home, a charming if not stereotypically gorgeous daughter and, in general, a lot to celebrate. However, from day one, it’s obvious Deborah needs something else. She has less fat than a stick of celery. She runs like a Red Bull with sneakers. More important, she criticizes those she loves with the bluntness of poorly made furniture, creating discomfort often to the point of pain.
Deborah hires Flor not only because she needs a housekeeper, but also because Flor “gets” her. But over the course of her employment, and despite her difficulty learning a new culture, it seems Flor might understand another Clasky even better.
“Spanglish” (2004, PG-13), directed by James L. Brooks, will be shown at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Mesa Public Library in the upstairs meeting room theater. It is part of library’s Free Film Series, which is made possible by Friends of the Library and co-sponsored by the Los Alamos Arts Council.
For more information, call 662-8240 or visit www.losalamosnm.us/library.

Kelly Dolejsi is a member of the Los Alamos Arts Council.