Writer/Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Running time: 95 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15
UK Release date: 7th February 2003
Watched on Sky+ Sunday 2nd December 2012.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
I must admit I really enjoyed Paul Thomas Anderson’s film ‘Magnolia’ and ever since I’ve been on the look-out for more of his work. At the recommendation of one of the finest film critics in the UK, Mark Kermode, I decided to take a look at Punch-Drunk Love. A very interesting film with all the quirks you’d expect from Paul Thomas Anderson plus the added spice that you get with Adam Sandler. Now I can’t say I’m an ardent fan of Sandler’s work; he’s had the odd moment here and there; but I thought he surpassed himself in this… More of my words later, here’s a very brief summary first.
Barry Egan (Adam Sandler) is a quite shy man who runs a company supplying novelty bathroom plungers. He has seven sisters and they all pick on him which doesn’t exactly do much for his self esteem. Consequently he has anger issues which tend to reveal themselves in outbursts of extreme violence. He tries to keep this side of him hidden and has a scheme to collect as many ‘Frequent Flyer Miles’ as he can from a food promotion. Feeling lonely one evening he rings a telephone sex line and ends up with more than he bargained for when the girl he spoke to, who calls herself Georgia, tries to blackmail him. Meanwhile, one of his sisters, Elizabeth (Mary Lynn Rajskub) is trying to fix him up with one of her co-workers, Lena Leonard (Emily Watson). Will this be the making of Barry, or will his anger issues and the problem with the sex line people come back to bite him? As you’ve probably guessed, I’m not going to tell you here.
Without doubt the best performance I’ve seen from Adam Sandler; he suits the role perfectly and plays it with just the right amount of craziness. Also worthy of note; Emily Watson who becomes a kind of kindred spirit to Sandler’s slightly off-kilter character. A small role for Philip Seymour Hoffman, who plays the boss of the sex line company, Dean Trubmbell, he is great on screen as ever. It’s all beautifully shot with several surprise moments along the way that give the film the kind of edginess it needs. A very quirky musical score by Jon Brion plays along in the background giving an interesting meter to the on-screen action. Over all, I did enjoy it, but maybe not quite as much as I expected to. Having said that, it is a film I’d like to see again some day because I feel there is a lot more to it than first appears.
SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED
My score: 7.1/10
IMDb Score: 7.3/10 (based on 68,476 votes at the time of going to press).
MetaScore: 78/100: (Based on 37 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 72/100 ‘Liked It’ (based on 125,093 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
Barry: Yes, I'm still on hold.
Phone Rep: And what was this?
Barry: I'm looking at your advertisement for the airline promotion and giveaway.
Phone Rep: Ah, the 10 for 1 mile plan...
Barry: Yeah, it's hard to understand, because it says "in addition to". But I can't exactly understand in addition to what? Because there's actually nothing to add to.
Phone Rep: I think that's a typo then.
Barry: Okay, so just to clarify - I'm sorry - 10 purchases of any of your healthy choice products equals 500 miles, and with the coupon, the same purchase would value 1000 miles?
Phone Rep: That's it.
Barry: Well, do you realize that the monetary value of this promotion and the prizes is potentially worth more than the purchases?
Phone Rep: I don't know.
[Barry looks around... ]
Barry: Healthy Choice and American Airlines got together and put this promotion: If you buy any 10 Healthy Choice products, they will reward you with 500 frequent flier miles; with this special coupon, they'll up it to 1,000 miles. So, I think they are trying to push their teriyaki chicken which is $1.79, but I went to the supermarket and I looked around and I saw that they had pudding... for 25¢ a cup... comes in packages of four. But insanely... the barcodes... are on the individual cups! So, quarter a cup, say you bought $2.50 worth. That's worth 500... with the coupon it's 1,000 miles. It's a marketing mistake but I'm taking advantage of it. If you were to spend $3,000, that would get you a million frequent flier miles. You would never have to pay for a ticket the rest of your life.
Lena: You... you bought all that pudding so that you could get frequent flier miles?
Barry: It really looks like Hawaii here.
Dean Trumbell: Now get the fuck out of here, pervert!
Barry: Didn't I warn you?
Dean Trumbell: Th... That's that!