Worth A Look: 16.67%
Just Average: 17.19%
Pretty Crappy: 7.29%
11 reviews, 126 user ratings
I often come out of movies with feelings or thoughts about them, only to have them evaporate within the next sixty minutes. There are hundreds of lightweight, non-thought-provoking films out there that disappear from my memory as soon as the lights come up. But this one has been on my mind since I saw it more than a week ago.Let’s get some things out of the way. Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, Magnolia) is a director that I love because he has absolutely no shame when throwing everything he has at the audience. It’s not like he’s showing off, he just seems to do everything he can at every point in a film to make us go ‘wow’. He has taken Adam Sandler, an entertainer who has never been mistaken as an actor, and used the impression or vibe that we already have about him, and turned it on its head. Either Sandler can really act, or Anderson is so skillful a director, that he just filmed Adam being Adam. Whichever it was, Sandler was a joy to watch. His love interest is Emily Watson, an actress so far above Sandler in talent that you wonder how she was talked into taking on this project. The two not-traditionally-beautiful stars make an incredibly charismatic couple. She does not act circles around Sandler. They have both been injured by loneliness, are unsure of why on earth they should take another chance, but find something in the other that gives them one more ounce of courage to try again.
"So romantic, it's almost hard to watch."
Sandler runs a business that sells toilet plungers. He is concise and specific and has a team of men working for him. He has seven sisters that are exactly the kind of nightmare you might think seven sisters would be if you were alone and they wanted you to date their girlfriend. He is invited to a party and one sister after another calls and makes sure that he’s not going to stay in, he will, in fact, go to the party. Each sister is ruder than the next, all but calling him an undateable loser during the phone calls.
Watson’s character works with one of Sandler’s sisters and she finds something endearing about him and she visits him with the sister in tow. Sandler is far too shy to accompany them to lunch so the two women leave. Then in one of those scenes that I seem to have hung onto, Watson turns and walks with specific purpose back into the office where she all but demands that Sandler write down her phone number and take her out. The camera follows her as she walks away, changes her mind, steels her courage, and puts
herself out there on the off chance that her feelings are reciprocated.
Their date begins poorly but ends better than well. I don’t want to say anymore about the plot, but there is a scene after he says goodnight to her at her apartment door. He walks down the stairs and when he gets to the manager’s office, she holds out the phone and says, “it’s for you”. What happens next is one of those ‘most romantic things you’ve ever seen’ scenes. It was played perfectly and off-kilter and humorously and it was painful to watch, it was so sweet.
Anderson does a bunch of things that are headscratching. A car accident at the beginning, a softshoe in a grocery store, a visit to a mattress store. The weirdness of these scenes doesn’t take away from the tremendous heart at the center of the story. Watson and Sandler are palpably relieved to have found each other. And we couldn’t be happier for them.
The sound design in this film is phenomenal. There are passages where we seem to be inside Sandler’s head when too much commotion is going on. And there are incredibly quiet parts that we are shocked out of by a truck or a loud noise.
“I have a love in my life and it makes me stronger than you can imagine.”
“Say 'that’s that' before I beat the hell from you.”
“I cry sometimes, for no reason.”
“When we get back home, will you come to my house?”
“I already thought I was.”
“Wherever you’re going and whatever you’re doing, I just wanted you to know that I wanted to kiss you just then.”
You can see the pain on Sandler’s face when Watson brings up the hammer throwing incident at the restaurant. He looks away and smiles and then beats the shit out of the bathroom. His breakdown at the payphone was also more understandable after seeing it a second time.
Most impressively, there is a long, single take when Sandler calls a phone sex operator. We watch him for what seems like ten minutes as he gets the courage, then calls, then is leery about what they’re asking, and then tries to have an actual conversation with the girl (“do you want to know what I look like?” “It doesn’t matter, I can’t really check.”). It is fascinating. He hangs up and awaits his callback and we’re not sure if it will ever come.We are kept off-guard the entire time, wondering if Anderson is making fun of these unlucky-in-love people or if he thinks, as I do, that we are all these characters. Putting up with the bad stuff that happens every day in the hopes that there may someday be some good stuff that happens with someone we want to be with when any kind of stuff happens.
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originally posted: 11/22/02 14:52:24