Looking for a couple of romantic comedies to pass the evening, or perhaps a sick day? If you’re a fan of some of Adam Sandler’s less-raunchy side then here is two-pack for you.
First in Spanglish we follow the story of Flor Moreno (Paz Vega) as told from the view of her daughter Christina (Shelby Bruce) chronicling her move from Mexico when Christina was young. At first Flor hashes out a living working two jobs for minimal pay in a Mexican neighborhood in Los Angeles but it isn’t long before she realizes that she’ll need to find a single job to take the place of the other two so she has enough time to spend with her growing daughter…which could be a little difficult for someone who doesn’t know a word of English.
With the help of an English-speaking relative Flor lands a job as a housekeeper charged with helping Deborah Clasky (Tia Leoni) around the house. It isn’t long before Flor finds herself right smack in the middle of all the drama of the house, most originating in Mrs. Clasky’s obsessive low self-esteem while her husband (Sandler) struggles to balance her needs, his extremely demanding job as restaurant owner and top-notch chef, time with his kids, and…ignoring that attractive new housekeeper.
Then in 50 First Dates jaded womanizer Henry Roth (Sandler again) meets a charming and beautiful woman named Lucy (Drew Barrymore) in a diner one day. The two hit it off right away and sparks definitely fly, they spend quite a long time together and Henry leaves the diner greatly anticipating the next time he’ll see Lucy again. The very next day Henry makes a beeline for the diner again and finds Lucy sitting in the same booth…but this time her reaction is a little less friendly when Henry tries to talk to her and she acts like she’s never seen him before in her life.
The waitress pulls Henry aside to explain to him about Lucy…she was in a bad car accident which caused some brain trauma resulting in short-term memory loss so that she wakes up every morning thinking it’s the day she had the accident and all her memories of that day are wiped away when she goes to bed at night. Henry can’t accept that Lucy remembers absolutely nothing and undertakes to woo her each and every day despite the opposition of the protective townspeople who are convinced that anyone interested in Lucy can’t possibly be interested in a long-term relationship.
Honestly I think the only thing these two films has in common is that both are romantic comedies and both star Adam Sandler but otherwise they are completely different. Both films also have an obvious attention to big-name actors, though 50 First Dates succeeded much better in the acting arena than did Spanglish in my opinion.
Spanglish is, over all, a study of several quirky personalities trying – and failing – to co-exist peacefully. There are a couple of charming moments but the film has a somewhat depressing undertone and a very non-conclusive ending that may disappoint many people. Sandler’s role in this film was a lot more serious than his die-hard fans are probably used to seeing (though may have got a taste of with his role in Click) and was much too worry-ridden to add any element of lightheartedness to this film.
50 First Dates, on the other hand, is the epitome of the “feel good” romantic comedy. From start to finish Sandler and Barrymore (with some help from Rob Schneider) put forth a fun-filled adventure filled with all manner of ridiculous stunts by a lovesick man who’s obviously not used to being serious.
Overall I absolutely loved 50 First Dates even though I’m not a big fan of “chick flicks” because it never fails to bring out some laughs and is a great film to watch if you’ve just had a bad day and want something happy to settle back with. However, Spanglish failed to really catch my attention and I found the plot and acting to be fairly lackluster and the ending to be a bit disappointing. The two-pack averages out at four stars between the two, but know that 50 First Dates is mostly responsible for that rate.