I love both movies, but Obre does have one interesting plus going for it; I'm convinced that Penelope Cruz is a far, far better actress in Spanish than in English. (Finally seeing her in Volver might have helped this conclusion as well.)
I think you're on to something, Joseph. Volver was absolutely the turning point for me in terms of liking Penelope Cruz. Her costume designer may have had something to do with that, too.