Punch Drunk Love
Adam Sandler as you've never seen him before
P.T. Anderson is certainly one of the best directors of his generation. Having written and directed long and epic films such as Boogie Nights and Magnolia prior to this one, it is not surprising that Anderson wanted to make a shorter film such as this one. Running for only 95 minutes, Punch-Drunk Love is outstanding.
Barry Egan (Adam Sandler) is a small business owner in L.A., who sells plungers and other toilet related things. He is constantly berated and emotionally abused by each of his seven sisters, particularly Elizabeth (Mary Lynn Rajskub) who wants him to go out with her friend Lena (Emily Watson). Barry rebuffs Elizabeth's attempts to get him to go out with Lena, and after a glass-smashing fit of rage at a party held by his sisters, he returns home and calls a phone-sex hotline, just wanting someone to talk to. However, the hotline is run by Dean Trumbell (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a shady businessman looking to extort Barry, who sends four henchmen to collect. As the story continues, Barry is continually harassed by them and must also face his sisters, simultaneously beginning a relationship with Lena.
Adam Sandler is brilliant in this film. His portrayal of an average guy who is lonely and longs for love hits home. He is able to use his past experiences playing characters with short fuses to his advantage, portraying Egan with both kindness and anger. Sandler shows us all that he can act, dispelling any notion that he is just mediocre actor who makes mindless comedies. He has great chemistry with Emily Watson, who is equally great in this film.
The plot of the film is equally brilliant, containing strange idiosyncrasies such as the frequent flier promotion that is featured and the use of the harmonium. Well scripted and directed by P.T. Anderson and a refreshing departure from his longer works.
Punch-Drunk Love is a great film that takes the viewer through the gamut of human emotion. A must see and one of the best films of 2002.