Christian Movie Interviews, News and Reviews

Punch-Drunk Love Movie Review

<i>Punch-Drunk Love</i> Movie Review

Genre:  Comedy/Romance

Rating:  R

Release Date:  October 18, 2002

Actors:  Adam Sandler, Emily Watson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Luis Guzmán, Mary Lynn Rajskub

Director:  Paul Thomas Anderson

Special Notes:  Emily Watson and Philip Seymour Hoffman are also starring together in Red Dragon.  But in each film, the stars have no scenes together.

Plot:  Barry Egan (Sandler) is a lonely man who runs a small business making toilet plungers.  His insecurities and self-esteem issues have been created by constant badgering from his seven judgmental and critical sisters.  When one of Barry's sisters introduces him to Lena (Watson), a friend from work, a romantic journey begins that test his love and temperament.  Philip Seymour Hoffman also stars.

Good:  I enjoy Adam Sandler, especially when he's trying to play a more serious character.  He can be sane one minute and off the wall the next.  In this movie writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson tries to make him do just that--carry on normally one minute and irrationally the next.  The character works because of Sandler's charm, but the movie still lacks something and leaves lots of unanswered questions wide open.  Why does he wear a shocking bright blue suit throughout the entire movie?  Why doesn't he report a pornography telephone service that tries to extort money from him to the law?  How can he afford to buy all that pudding?  Why doesn't he take a stand against his abusive sisters?  Sandler can play "different" like no other but in this case, I enjoyed his naive delivery of a gentle soul who loses his temper because of sisters who pushed him too hard.  Anyone who's had a sibling can understand how much torture they can be, but this movie takes a look at that on an adult level.  What we get is a simple look at a complicated guy who falls in love with an uncomplicated girl.

Bad:  This is an unusual movie in that it has sweet and tender moments as well as a couple of violent and bizarre ones, but it's not a movie everyone will enjoy.  There's lots of profanity (especially religious) as well as plenty of adult dialogue, especially during a scene between Barry and a telephone sex girl who talks dirty to him for a fee.  When the girl calls him back to blackmail him into giving her money, more language is used to scare him.  Violence consists of a car wreck resulting in Lena having a bloody head and Barry beating up the guys who hit them.  Barry loses his temper and threatens a man.  Barry is on top of Lena on a bed, but both are clothed as they kiss.  It's implied that they have sex but nothing is seen.

Bottom Line:  This is not a movie traditional Sandler fans are going to enjoy.  Thankfully there's an R rating which will hopefully prevent the 12 to 16 year olds from seeing this movie that ultimately would disappoint them anyway.  The rhythm is slow, the jokes are more on the adult level, and it's not a movie I would normally endorse because of the language.  But, there was something about this story that I liked.  I think it's that the goofy, quirky underdog got the girl and proved he could be "normal".