Barry Egan (Adam Sandler) is a bit of a loser. He buys pudding just for the frequent flier miles even though he doesn’t have any where particular to go, and breaks things in random bouts of self-loathing. And in his loneliness, he calls up a sex line run by some crooks in a nearby Califoronia town. And that sex line calls him back, blackmailing him for money. At the same time, he finds himself tentatively courting Lena, a woman almost as damaged as he. Together, they form an unlikely, and very sweet romance.
Punch-Drunk Love is dark and mature, most unlike the stereotype of Adam Sandler’s other work. But in a more dramatic role, the man thrives. Kitted out in a jarring bright blue suit and sporting a whole arsenal of odd little mannerisms, Sandler is very convincing his depiction of a weird but oddly lovable man who deep down has a heart of gold and only acts out due to desperation. Emily Watson is just as well cast as the kooky, jaded, but adorable Lena. Philip Seymour Hoffman steals the show as the mastermind behind the sexline con, with his self-important strut and devil may care demeanour. The supporting cast are all excellent, and we ourselves really feel the sense of stifling that Barry Egan suffers due to having so many pushy sisters.
Punch-Drunk Love is an impressive, offbeat, bizarre film that offers a whole whirlwind of emotions in the viewing experience. The music and script are sometimes almost distractingly random, but that suits the disjointed style of the film. Furthermore, the fusion of comedy, romance, drama, violence all plays out to be an enthralling little number. Plus, I’m willing to bet money that you were totally rooting for Barry when he defends his woman’s honour with a crowbar; I know I was! Delicately, sensitively written and maturely directed, Punch-Drunk Love is a punch-drunk masterpiece.