Friday, May 05, 2006


2004, US, directed by James L. Brooks

Rating: **

While James L. Brooks has made some fine, entertaining fare (Broadcast News and As Good As It Gets, in particular), here he seems incapable of deciding whether he's making a heartwarming drama or a pointed social satire - which is a shame, especially since he coaxes an excellent, understated performance from Adam Sandler. Sandler plays John Clasky, a successful LA chef with an overbearing wife (Tea Léoni) who hires a Spanish-speaking maid, Flor (Paz Vega), and life lessons ensue. Given Brooks' background in small-screen fare, it shouldn't be a great surprise that he crafts a setup straight out of sitcom central, but it's still astonishing to be presented with the scenario of a wise (and winsome) maid teaching a family of wealthy professionals a thing or two about honour and, well, the right way to live. Thankfully for Brooks, Vega and, especially, Sandler (along with the two young actresses playing their respective daughters) are both very watchable (more so than the trite story deserves), but poor Léoni is saddled with a truly obnoxious role with not a redeeming grace note in sight.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States