Part VI of The Filthy Films of Adam Sandler in Ideological Content Analysis: A Cranko-Politico-Critical Retrospective of the ICA Institute for Advanced Sandler Studies (A.S.S.)

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Sandler gets to tackle a more serious role than usual, playing one of the relatively normal characters for a change in the blatant pro-immigration propaganda piece Spanglish, which, for the purposes of this review, shall go by its alternate title The Passion of the Wetback.  Sandler plays John Clasky, a gourmet chef and father whose wife Deborah (Tea Leoni) is such a spoiled, unbalanced, and self-absorbed shrew that she is apparently incapable of keeping her own home in order despite not having a job.  The only solution, of course, is for the Claskys to hire a hot illegal Mexican housekeeper, Flor (Paz Vega), to grace them with her wise Latina ways and teach them a moral truth or two like a wetback Mr. Belvedere.  Along for the ride to demonstrate the bright future made possible by America’s budding immigrant generations is Flor’s daughter Cristina (Shelbie Bruce), who is naturally prettier and more talented than Clasky’s pudgy daughter Bernice (Sarah Steele).

Sandler’s accessible humanity anchors what might otherwise have been an intolerable chick flick, with Tea Leoni creating a psycho mother to stand alongside Piper Laurie in Carrie and Faye Dunaway in Mommie Dearest, a creature so disgusting that one can hardly blame Mr. Clasky for being tempted by imported fruit.  Mrs. Clasky is the new American woman: hard, unfeminine, sexually neurotic, straining for beauty but making herself more unappealing in the process, and utterly overwhelmed by her uninteresting problems.  Her fatuous presumption, a product of privilege, finds humorous expression when she initially misunderstands her new housekeeper’s name to be “Floor – what I walk on, right?”  America, not Mexico, The Passion of the Wetback would inform viewers, is the hotbed of kidnapping, with Mrs. Clasky at one point taking off with Flor’s daughter without permission and leaving a note: “I decided to steal your daughter for a bit.”  Thankfully, Flor finds out and hits the roof, giving her boss a peppery piece of her wise Latina mind.  Mrs. Clasky is, however, gratified to hear from Cristina that she is “the most amazing white woman that I’ve ever met.”

Okay by lightweight chick flick standards, the film is still a sociological crime and a commercial for the Treason Lobby.  3 out of 5 stars.  Ideological Content Analysis indicates that The Passion of the Wetback is:

8. Animal rights militant.  A PETA sticker adorns the daughter’s bedroom door.

7. Anti-drug.  Clasky’s mother-in-law (Cloris Leachman) is an alcoholic.  Flor discourages Clasky from turning to drink to escape his problems.

6. Obesity-tolerant.  Women yearn for “the comfort of fullness.”  Mrs. Clasky insensitively buys her daugher clothes that are too small for her, expecting that Bernice should lose weight so that the items will fit; but Flor slyly alters the garments to boost the girl’s self-esteem.

5. Egalitarian and hostile to private property.  “I didn’t know God had a toy store for the rich,” Cristina says, expressing her shock at “natural beauty which is privately owned.”

4. Pro-castration.  Mr. Clasky, an exemplar of the sensitive, tolerant man, “seemed to have the emotions of a Mexican woman.”

3. Pro-miscegenation.  Naturally.

2. Anti-marriage/family-ambivalent.  Mr. Clasky is a model father, but his family is severly dysfunctional.  Mrs. Clasky is bitchy and unfaithful.  Flor’s husband left her.  Clasky’s mother-in-law endorses the superiority of Third World motherhood, however, when she tells Flor, “I live my life for myself.  You live yours for your daughter.”

1. Razist/alien-delugist.  A spicy slice of Hollywood psyops, The Passion of the Wetback frames the illegal immigration crisis as the disarmingly personal story of a beautiful, long-suffering woman and her precocious daughter searching for a better life and hoping to earn a share of the American dream with hard work and a little help from their friends – less threatening for the viewer, certainly, than a horde of hairy, mustachioed day laborers or criminal freeloaders bent on leaching off the state and keeping American unemployment high.  Illegal immigration, as The Passion of the Wetback illustrates, just means more sexy women, so what could possibly go wrong?

If anything, criminal aliens are probably a divine provision.  “Great God in Heaven, save me,” Clasky implores before turning around and seeing Flor for the first time.  She and her fellow invaders are America’s collective Savior.  The Passion of the Wetback does what it can to convince the audience that illegals want to become real, acculturated Americans by learning English and studying.  “That show you’re watchin’s gonna be a hit,” Clasky jokes, seeing Flor watching an English language video course.  Preferential treatment for illegal college applicants receives a boost when Cristina, Bernice’s academic superior, applies to Princeton University.  Bernice, in one of The Passion of the Wetback‘s most shameless moments, hugs Cristina and even says she hopes that some of her will rub off.

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