I just watched an Adam Sandler movie. Surprise! It's called Spanglish. The title intrigued me when I saw the trailer for it a hundred years ago, and then, when I saw that it was Adam Sandler, I got a bit deflated. I see Sandler and I think of crass goofy junk that appeals to teenagers with no taste. Except, that I'll watch when I am feeling---oh, I dunno---careless? goofy? daring? stupid? Whatever.
Anyway, Spanglish was very good. It was Sandler playing a regular guy. Not the extreme loser caricature, but a regular husband and father. He has a dysfunctional wife who brings a housekeeper, Flor, into the mix in a rather funny way. The story is narrated by Flor's daughter, by way of a college admission essay, so we understand that the story is less about the family, and more about what Flor's daughter learns, but the lessons are painful and, I think, pretty believable. The plot goes down the path of infidelity and conflicted feelings, but manages to end where it should. And that's what surprised me. The obvious choices were obvious, so it threw me a bit when they didn't all happen as expected. I also wasn't expecting "responsibility" to be brought up. They could have substituted "commitment" for responsibility, but I guess that's semantics.
The conflict that bubbles underneath Tea Leoni's character and her mother surfaces rather surprising between Flor and her young daughter. She challenges her daughter with a very serious question--perhaps the question that as parents we worry about but never want to verbalize. Again, the predictability factor goes out the window because I never expected the question to be asked, let alone answered.
I usually get tired of movies when they become predictable and easy to figure out, yet this one kept me on my toes. Who knew Sandler could do something serious? (he still plays the kind of dazed-surprised-bumbling kind of guy, only it's engaging in this movie).
And by the way, Cloris Leachman for the win. When she tackled Tea Leoni I thought I was going to spew water all over the place.