Review: Punch-Drunk Love


I have no idea how to summerise this film, what a bizarre yet strangely poignant romantic comedy with a seriously strange twist.

We follow Adam Sandler’s character who can only be described as “psychologically disturbed”, as he runs a small business and tries to break free of insecurities thrown on him by his seven sisters. He is a bizarre, unorthodox man in unorthodox surroundings, who finds himself blackmailed by a sex hotline he once called and the mattress store manager who runs it. Can true love with Lena (Emily Watson) allow him to recover his own self esteem and respect?

I knew next to nothing about the film going in, and I have to say it was nothing that I expected it to be! Frankly I was just looking for a good Adam Sandler performance, and I found more than that. It is like watching a different actor! In a very different film!

I will admit though, within the first thirty minutes I was pretty lost. There was a miniature piano, a weirdly aggressive sister, Barry himself is unlikable and odd, he buys loads of pudding in a deal to get air miles he never uses… I was in a bizarro nexus of oddities. However, sticking with it I realised this was an American film doing what European films usually do in the genre; this isn’t far off what Jean-Pierre Jeunet might direct. Maybe not quite as quirky, but certainly unique!
It is a strange film and no mistake, but is surely worth a watch! Emily Watson and Phillip Seymour Hoffman give great supporting roles, and Sandler is downplaying his usual talents to an acceptable level, and it works wonders. The final act of the film is surely its best; everything culminating to a final, gratifying pay off.

Sure, there are some issues I had with it, it did take a bit of getting used to at first, and Lena’s persistence to have a relationship with such a bizarre man felt a little odd, especially given how level headed she was herself. But there were signature moments, clever payoffs and as it continued I found myself more and more interested in it.

Weird, but very unique, highly recommended I’d say!

Additional Marshmallows: For all the praise the director, Paul Thomas Anderson, gets, I didn’t like There Will Be Blood, I thought it was tedious. Punch-Drunk Love is probably the first of his films that I actually got and enjoyed!

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