Adam Sandler might not be Hollywood’s typical definition of a romantic lead, but it’s a subgenre he’s found plenty of success in over the years. Nobody can argue that he hasn’t generated better onscreen chemistry with anyone than he did with Drew Barrymore in The Wedding Singer, 50 First Dates and Blended, which are regarded by a lot of his fans as three of his best ever movies.
Unfortunately, things didn’t go so well when he ventured outside of his Happy Madison comfort zone to work with three-time Academy Award winning Terms of Endearment, Jerry Maguire and As Good As It Gets writer/director James L. Brooks on Spanglish, which was the filmmaker’s first feature in seven years.
The plot follows Paz Vega’s Mexican immigrant and single mother Flor, who finds herself working for married couple Deborah and John Clasky, played by Téa Leoni and Sandler, who appear to have an idyllic home life on the surface. Struggling to maintain the work/life balance because of her daughter, Flor is moved into the Clasky home and tensions arise as the two wildly different families clash on a number of issues.
Sandler always tends to give his better performances when he’s not leaning into his usual shtick, and that’s true in the case of Spanglish, but the narrative is a little too trite and predictable, so the mixed reviews were hardly a turn up for the books. It also bombed at the box office after earning just $55 million on an $80 million budget, but it’s an Adam Sandler movie that’s just been added to the Netflix library as of today, so it’s almost to be expected that it’ll eventually find its way into the Top 10 most-watched list.