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Movie Review: Spanglish

Alternate Title: Culture Clash

Story: If you like watching TV on the big screen check out this situational dramedy by seasoned writer and director James L. Brooks.

It has everything you like in a TV network show. It has adorable, talented kids, it has an alcoholic, yet loving mother-in-law, it has a gorgeous, overachieving triple A mother, the understanding, yet schlubby dad and of course the most gorgeous of housekeeper-nannies to come across the US-Mexican border in about 250 years.

The clashing of cultures and values is the heart of the film. There are some wonderful moments and there are some eye-rolling scenes. Technically, it is a fine film. However, I prefer my TV stories in the comfort of my living room with the remote control by my side.

This film would have been a terrific midseason replacement on some faltering TV network.

Acting: Everyone was flawless. Tea Leoni was a marvel to watch. She is a physical comedienne and even though she lacked any likable human qualities I felt for her. Cloris Leachman was terrific as the mother-in-law. Adam Sandler pulls off a pretty good performance as the Dad but I found his halting language and inability to express himself pretty annoying. Paz Vega, (perhaps the new and improved Salma Hayek) the Spanish actress was wonderful to watch. The kids, Sarah Steele and Shelbie Bruce almost stole the picture.

Predilection: None.

Critters: One beautiful yellow lab who has a thing for fetching.

Food: Adam Sandler plays an award winning chef. There's lots of yummy food prepared in his restaurant and in the home.

Visual Art: The attention to detail, from the stickers in the kids rooms, to the eclectic mix of paintings in their home were great visual eye candy.

Blatant Product Placement: The Black Dog Restaurant.

Soundtrack: Manipulative but fun.

Theater Audience: I was the only one in the theater. I guess it was like watching TV in my own home but there were more seats available than in my own living room.

Sappy Factor: 3

Quirky Meter: 0

Drift Range: I drifted a great deal after about 45 minutes. I wanted to fast forward with my imaginary remote control in order to move this film forward.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: 0 (I am sure some of you out there will need a tissue).

Oscar Worthy: No.

Nit Picking: Way too long.

Big Screen or Rental: Wait for it to appear on your TV screen or on your next flight.

Length: 20 minutes over the two hour Lobo rule.