I was surprised to find I hadn’t seen the movie Punch-Drunk Love starring Adam Sandler.
I love Adam Sandler. Love! I seriously love him. I am sick, I know.
I was a little disappointed not to find any punch or any spiked punch for that matter, but the cute story of this strange guy and the “new love in his life that makes him strong” is pretty interesting.
Sandler plays Barry Egan, a small business owner, who has seven sisters. They are constantly hounding him and mistreating him. They show him no respect. They seem to trigger his sudden but quick violent acts. Egen is a shy dude with a great deal of repressed anger who is just terribly lonely. He tries at a family gathering to be congenial and friendly, but we can see the tension in his smiling lips and darting eyes, and suddenly he explodes, kicking out the glass patio doors.
One odd morning a harmonium first appears in the street then a striking young lady asks for his help with her car. She re-appears a few days later and there seems to be a spark between them. However, when ever his sister is around he can’t seem to make a move for this girl.
So after one night of being so lonely, he calls a sex line looking for someone to talk to. He then is extorted by the sex line owner who sends some guys to his home to beat him up and get money.
Despite these problems, he takes a chance with this new girl and they end up falling in love.
In voice and mannerisms he is the same childlike, love-starved Adam Sandlerwe’ve seen in his regular comedic movies, but this film, by seeing him in a new light, encourages us to look again at those films. In this movie, his mannerisms are more of a disguise to the suffering and pain the character is in. Sandler does an excellent job reveling different depths and tones that we may have never known existed.
The director, Paul Thomas Anderson, is a big fan of Adam Sandler’s movies. He saw that in all Sandler’s past movies, the Sandler characters are almost oppressively nice, like needy puppies, and yet they conceal a masked hostility to society, a passive-aggressive need to go against the flow, a gift for offending others while in the very process of being ingratiating.
In Punch-Drunk Love, the character does not understand himself and why he gets frustrated. He is unsure of himself, always on guard.
Despite his awkwardness, the story is very liberating because you honestly don’t know what will happen next. This romantic comedy feels always that its on a verge of nervous breakdown. In the end, you are cheering for Barry. His character in the movie not only moves you but its exhilarates you. It transports you and it surprises you.
It’s a nice reminder why we watch movies.