Punch-Drunk Love is an intelligent and engaging art film that contradicts the conventional romantic comedy and provides an original character study into the life of a man isolated by the world around him.
Writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson (Magnolia, Boogie Nights) ditches the simplicity and predictability of the genre for an elaborate portrayal of genuine love.
Adam Sandler, the “Saturday Night Live” alum who brought Hollywood such comedic classics as Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison, plays Barry Egan, a lonely entrepreneur at the mercy of his overbearing sisters.
Their abuse interferes with every aspect of Barry’s life from his decorative plunger business to his love life, or lack there of, and provokes violent outbursts from Barry.
Unable to control or understand his emotions, he inflicts pain on himself and others around him.
In a search for peace, Barry decides to take advantage of a promotional loophole.
With the purchase of Healthy Choice products, he will gain millions of frequent flyer miles and the opportunity to separate himself from his siblings.
One morning, Barry meets Lena Leonard, played by Emily Watson (Red Dragon, Gosford Park).
Lena, a co-worker of one of Barry’s sisters, empathizes with Barry’s ongoing battle with his relatives and is drawn toward his insecurity and inexperience.
Their attraction is immediate and their relationship unfolds beautifully throughout the film.
Anderson allows their love to develop with great realism, carefully depicting the subtle and awkward moments in any new relationship.
There are no fairy tale events in this love story but that only adds more character to the overall film.
Sandler’s performance in Punch-Drunk Love is full of merit.
His portrayal of a desperate man is honest, natural and dynamic and it allows many to identify with his character in every way.
Every scene signifies his potential to become a great actor.
Those expecting a typical Sandler film, full of slapstick and over-exaggerated humor, will be disappointed.
In this film, Sandler provides the audience with a different perspective of his acting ability and the results are truly impressive.
It has been said that comedians make the best actors, Punch-Drunk Love shows that Sandler is well on his way.
Carmen Dukes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.