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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 16.67%
Just Average: 17.19%
Pretty Crappy: 7.29%
Sucks: 9.9%

11 reviews, 126 user ratings

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Punch-Drunk Love
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by MichaelVox

"So romantic, it's almost hard to watch."
5 stars

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.

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.

Second Viewing:
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.

Favorite lines:
“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.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=6201&reviewer=322
originally posted: 11/22/02 14:52:24
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User Comments

3/08/17 Louise (the actual one) This was rubbish 2 stars
5/03/15 Chilly Dong Thornton not enough room to explain why this critic is terrible at his job 5 stars
3/01/14 josie cotton is a goddess Brilliant movie! Sandler is terrific! 5 stars
1/29/10 dlenmnodth DmVWDJ 3 stars
10/01/09 david jensen It took a 2nd viewing for me, but this film catapulted itself from ok- to my favorite ever 5 stars
7/22/09 the dork knight Well, the movie makes no sense but its loser protagonist is all-too familiar to some of us 3 stars
6/29/09 Duffy Johnson Terrible...misfires on all levels. Had I seen it in a theatre I may have walked out 1 stars
8/28/08 Shaun Wallner Sandler makes some great films! 5 stars
7/29/08 the dork knight I didn't quite get it. But the ending was original 3 stars
5/04/08 Justin If you hate this film the go on and make a better one and be more acclaimed then Anderson 5 stars
5/23/07 ES The music is horrific but the story and the characters are perfect 4 stars
5/02/07 nigel unwatchable 1 stars
1/15/07 jeannie karlsen Adam Sandler is so much better in roles like this. He's shockingly brilliant. 5 stars
12/10/06 David Meyerhoff A cinematic masterpiece with heart...captures what true love is with all its imperfections. 5 stars
5/01/06 Anthony Feor An Adam Sandlar movie where he is calm most of the time, I know, im surprised too 4 stars
3/18/06 MP Bartley A real grower. Weird at first, its greatness slowly dawns on you. 4 stars
2/11/06 Eric Evans Brilliant! A love story that makes one FEEL the romance, love, and animal attraction. 5 stars
2/11/06 Eric Evans PTA proves that his consummate style has the breadth to build an awesome oeuvre. 5 stars
1/03/06 Dick Nora Ephron + Acid + Camera = PDL. Interesting, fun & worth several viewings. 4 stars
12/28/05 R.W.Welch Flaky but inventive. Has a certain style to it. 4 stars
12/23/05 Nate Great movie. Too bad most Sandler fans will think Billy Madison is better. 5 stars
11/30/05 Sophie Fantastique 5 stars
8/02/05 ALDO People who don't like this movie don't get it, and that's okay. I don't get Dave Matthews 5 stars
6/18/05 K. Sear After the brilliance of Magnolia, I was sorely disappointed with this. 1 stars
6/04/05 Charlene Javier Completely overrated. 3 stars
6/04/05 Mike Jozic I'm not a big Adam Sandler or P.T. Anderson fan and I was mesmerized by PDL. 4 stars
5/31/05 Dan What the FUCK is wrong with YOU PEOPLE You think you get something out of this shit! My god 1 stars
5/27/05 Jake Adam Sandler gives the best performance of career in a great and quirky film. 5 stars
3/07/05 Hydrian The first half is slow moving, but otherwise not bad. 3 stars
2/21/05 ELI Sandler should make more movies like this! 5 stars
12/13/04 Jim Oddly fascinating, like a train wreck or natural disaster. Sandler can act, who knew? 4 stars
9/21/04 Johnno It's such a beautiful movie.I feel the urge to smash the f#cke* thing with a sledgehammer. 5 stars
9/12/04 Juggalo FUckin awesome Sandler is AMAZING! 5 stars
9/12/04 chris. sigh. shut the fuck up. 5 stars
8/16/04 Rusty Klichowicz David Hollands review of this oone is based on ignorance 3 stars
7/21/04 dropdead Very insightful. Thoroughly enjoyed this film. 5 stars
6/28/04 Monster W. Kung 'Bobby Fisher' first learn how to spell, you dumbass. 1 stars
6/13/04 MyGreenBed Visually very pleasing, conceptually interesting, acting is ok. Hideous Sandler fight bit. 3 stars
6/09/04 Ama Simard sucks almost as bad as magnolia 1 stars
5/23/04 DM darkofnight, I have yet to see you give a favorable review - is there a weed up your ass? 4 stars
5/23/04 Butterbean New angle at a love story. "He needs me" from Popeye was a nice touch. 3 stars
5/10/04 the bride Monster W. Kung you're a total fuckwit. You obviously haven't a clue what a decent film is. 5 stars
5/07/04 staffy i liked this film alot, but found the soundtrack a bit loud! dvd extras r hypnotic. 4 stars
5/05/04 J.Peckerfoot what great film.not telling my friends about it,they just wouldnt understand.sandler, almos 5 stars
5/05/04 Bobby Fisher INSIGHTFULL REVIEW MONSTER, genius, suddenly sandler is loved again 5 stars
3/24/04 George Jung Perfect. 5 stars
3/16/04 Holly Beeman If you don't like this movie, it's probably because you don't get it. Sandler can -act-! 5 stars
3/04/04 Monster W. Kung Horrible. Anderson sucks balls. 1 stars
2/23/04 Naturezrevenge *I* thought that this movie was a work of cinematic genius.Subtle and wonky. Not bad at all 5 stars
2/15/04 jdogg This critic sucks! He had no intention of giving this a fair viewing! What an asshole! 4 stars
2/15/04 the gourd This movie sucks, but the guy who reviewed this is a fucking moron. Go kill yourself. 2 stars
2/15/04 Lord Chu Why is darkofknight reviewing for this site? It ruins my day just to know he exists. 5 stars
2/14/04 Jack Sommersby Sandler is first-rate, but direction is too heavy-handed & overdeliberate. Grating stuff. 2 stars
1/23/04 Chloe Brody Nice to see Adam Sandler acting normal for a change! Odd couple, but still totally sweet! 4 stars
1/09/04 joekraw a breathtaking masterpiece for people who understand what cinema truly is 5 stars
12/13/03 Agent Sands Possibly better than "Magnolia." Sandler's proved himself talented. This is a winner! 5 stars
11/26/03 Zaharin Hamid aka The Movie Samseng Terrific movie. Fuck all y'all who hate this movie. I love it! Adam Sandler can act. 5 stars
11/22/03 Phil M. Aficionado Unique/unconventional; bittersweet; great role for Sandler (whom I do not like, generally) 4 stars
11/12/03 Daniel Stockman This movie was too caught up in bullshit pishy posh unrealistic crap, made no sense at all. 1 stars
11/10/03 Jonathan P Your reviewer had a brain fart the day he wrote his review. Too bad for him. 4 stars
10/13/03 Erik Van Sant Perfect. Sandler is outstanding. It's hard to explain how this movie makes you feel. 5 stars
10/01/03 Nate Ubowski Splendid 5 stars
8/17/03 barry casting.sandler.brilliant.attempt.to.target.an.audience.that.NEEDS.to.get.it.but.they.don't 5 stars
8/16/03 Ingo What a intense movie that is - have to see it a couple more times... 5 stars
8/12/03 Zel Hilarious- Unless you think you are too witty or manly to enjoy this twisted love story. 5 stars
8/09/03 Al Worse than FREEDY GOT FINGERED. Everyone involved should seek theropy. 1 stars
8/08/03 josh fantastic 5 stars
8/08/03 john anderson Yet another critic leaps upon the Paul Thomas Anderson bandwagon. This film is atrocious. 1 stars
7/30/03 Loraan Things happen without explanation... just go with it. Great ride! 5 stars
7/28/03 greensweater stylistic but tedious, mildly wierd 3 stars
7/16/03 Marc This Movie sucked. I tried to get into the movie, but couldn't. Waste of money to rent.:( 1 stars
7/14/03 skye magnolia it ain't. by a LONG shot. but i'm glad many of you were able to enjoy it. not me. 1 stars
7/11/03 HAROLD TOBMAN A riveting demonstation of our ability to be reborn through the power of love - brilliant 5 stars
7/09/03 Dan This movie was TOTAL SHIT!!!! 1 stars
7/06/03 sharon huh what...kinda lame at first but liked it when he kicked the brothers asses!!!go barry 3 stars
7/02/03 Flop I honestly don't get it. Where was the story? And whats with the piano? 2 stars
7/02/03 Belle This was absolutely horrible... too many loose ends 1 stars
6/30/03 dsplash33 how can you bash this movie? assholes, go watch 2 fast 2 furious, one dimensional losers 5 stars
6/30/03 Dag Great movie. Some of these people below are just idiots..... 5 stars
6/22/03 Dead_duck A pile of shit. No ending. No plot. No chemistry. Paul, find a new job. 1 stars
6/11/03 Joe Excellent movie....can totally relate to Egan. 5 stars
6/10/03 Albie Great. The movie made me squirm for Sandler's character. 5 stars
5/25/03 John40 best film of 2002 5 stars
5/22/03 Kris I do not get it and I do not get Sandler. 3 stars
5/21/03 monkeyman 4 words... ADAM SANDLER SUX ASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
5/05/03 Pagey Indulgent direction, distracting score, irritating characters. 2 stars
4/24/03 Elendil Wow, I can't believe that Sandler didn't urinate on anything. 5 stars
4/22/03 Jim the movie geek One joke, implausible story, no star chemistry, black comedy that misses! 2 stars
4/21/03 Aiken Drum Its Ok, but not great. Weird for the sake of being weird which doesn't work imo. 4 stars
4/18/03 Jon "Thumb the Toad" Lyrik weird and wonderful 5 stars
4/08/03 Jim Renwick Good movie & worth seeing 4 stars
4/06/03 rik dont get it 2 stars
3/27/03 Allison Lafferty There are likeable characters; there are likeable freaky chars.; these mostly just freaky. 3 stars
3/22/03 mattski a really edgy off the wall film that works. comedy with very sharp edges 5 stars
3/21/03 Maegs I simply loved this movie 4 stars
3/20/03 Tiffany Thunderhurst Refreshing little not-all-that-believable diversion; nothing extremely special. 4 stars
3/17/03 Kyle Pretty good, exactly what I was expecting. 4 stars
3/04/03 Andrew Carden Cute Little Dramedy With Great Performances. 5 stars
2/21/03 Jon hilariously sadly funny 5 stars
1/25/03 Goofy Maxwell Not so absurd really, this must be the way Punch & Judy hooked up. 5 stars
11/26/02 Zack W. Young Greatest movie ever made, no exxageration 5 stars
11/26/02 Robert Shelby One of the best originals ever made. Anderson's view is like nothing on this planet, (true) 5 stars
11/25/02 marzio arigoni@rtsi.ch Nice movie, it deserved a price in Cannes, where I saw it. A surprise! 4 stars
11/25/02 Sid Vicious Great movie... not for the weak of mind... 5 stars
11/21/02 Anarchy Azmi STEVE is gay he probably liked titanic or something....cant wait for the dvd 5 stars
11/17/02 Nicole What a bizzaro movie! 3 stars
11/10/02 Jake i loved this movie 5 stars
11/09/02 FrayLo not the greatest, but still a movie that's got something deeper to say about love... 4 stars
11/09/02 spaceworm Far too sharp to make the usual Sandler millions; will be the first of his I'll own on DVD 5 stars
11/03/02 .Choadushouse. I was surprisingly non-entertained. Felt the film was pointless. Sandler was good though. 3 stars
11/03/02 Brian PTA's no Fellini 2 stars
11/02/02 ajay I left the theatre wanting more! btw, hated Magnolia loved Boogie Nights 5 stars
10/28/02 Scott The movie's not about Emily Watson. It's about Barry Egan. Understand and appreciate 5 stars
10/28/02 jerppy Best movie I've seen in a long while. 5 stars
10/28/02 jefftucson I hated this movie. What a waste of Emily watson's talent! 1 stars
10/27/02 lucas holy shit 5 stars
10/26/02 Lisa More than just a "romantic fable"...I was challenged with other "insights" 5 stars
10/26/02 Eric fucking a 5 stars
10/25/02 apple jack best movie ever, man 5 stars
10/24/02 Anarchy Azmi damn weird...love it 5 stars
10/19/02 Jeff GoodSmith unbelieveable... I didn't know that Adam Sandler could ever achieve as much as he did. 5 stars
10/17/02 Westside Johnny This movie is pure. 5 stars
10/14/02 PT Anderson is a genius Finally someone who can control Adam Sandler's idiotic tendencies and make him a real actor 5 stars
10/13/02 "Yes the shit." Honest nice style, good talent. But nothing special. 3 stars
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  11-Oct-2002 (R)



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