We gave it a C+
Téa Leoni’s roundly criticized performance as an egomaniacal SoCal woman on the verge of self-combustion slashes through Spanglish, the maudlin culture clash from James L. Brooks. Cruel to her children, unfaithful to her chef husband (Adam Sandler), and patronizing to her sexy Mexican maid (Paz Vega, in a largely Spanish-speaking role), Leoni’s idiosyncratic villain is a moneyed do-gooder whose philanthropy exists only to quench her narcissism — but Brooks, with his flat direction and half-conceived script, succumbs to her confused liberalism. The film’s conclusion, meant to symbolize the triumph of foreigners over assimilation, is instead an accidental endorsement of segregation.
EXTRAS A dozen scrapped scenes help add dimension to Leoni’s bonkers portrayal (her ”closure thing”with Vega should have made the final cut), and a featurette on the miraculous BLT Sandler prepares in the film (recipe included) is a valued gesture. Brooks, joined by two slavish film editors on his commentary, is hungry for adulation — over one comic line he pleads, ”We’ve all had that feeling, right? No? No? Haven’t we?”Audio tracks and subtitles are optional in English and French, but, alas, not en español.