Monday, July 9, 2012

Punch-Drunk Love

Punch-Drunk Love (2002)
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Writer: Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring: Adam Sandler, Emily Watson, Luis Guzman, Philip Seymour Hoffman
Rating: R
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

"Here we go again" said every memorable sitcom character from (insert your favorite sitcom here). I am into a momentary escape from my unpleasant brush with adulthood today. Last week, when my parents and brothers were on vacation, (and therefore I was on vacation) I watched this movie waiting for my lovely lady friend to get off work. It was quite an experience, to say the least.

How did I come into a copy of said movie? First things first, I am a HUGE fan of Adam Sandler's serious roles. Reign Over Me and Funny People are among some that have displayed a less comic and more human, emotional side to Sandler. He's got some serious talent. So you can imagine when dear friend and mentor Justin Boccitto mentioned this movie on a list of Sandler's serious roles, then I had to see for myself. I found a copy about a year later at Mckay's Used Books, Cd's, Dvd's and More, in my old Nashville home. I paid $1.95 (American) and it could not have been better spent (Maybe on a couple Polar Pops, but I digress).

Short Synopsis: Barry Egan (Adam Sandler; Happy Gilmore) is a small business owner with maybe some slight mental instability. He runs his business with his second in command, Lance (Luis Guzman; Traffic) and we don't ever really find out how well he does at that. He seems to be a tightwad, though, so we can assume not great. Barry's sisters are always trying to set him up with people and failing, thinking that would make him "freak out" less, though he doesn't do it that often. I would give away what his "freak outs" are but then the movie just wouldn't be as fun for you!

Then, Barry IS set introduced to someone by his sister, Elizabeth (Mary Lynn Rajksub; 24), whom he finds intriguing. Lena Leonard (Emily Watson; War Horse...not to be confused with Emma Watson, who was only about 12 when this movie was made), is a very interesting girl and Barry, reluctant at first, gives chase, and gets her caught up in a mess, involving an antagonist (Philip Seymour Hoffman; Moneyball), but ultimately shows just how far someone will go when they are in punch-drunk love with someone.

I gave this movie four stars because frankly, it's a tad hard to follow at first. But, it accomplishes the same as other movies in that it makes you ask questions  (Why is he doing this? Where is he going? What is the deal with this guy? etc.). I thought altogether, however, that it was beautifully made, and that the acting was superb. Sandler and Watson all the way down to the smallest characters did a great job with the creating believable, realistic scenarios. Even though it's a four star, that's still pretty good. It didn't win any Oscars, but Sandler better win one before he dies (or my face is gonna hurt. Seriously). 

The important thing is: Don't judge someone's acting ability based on their niche, tendency, or passion. Adam Sandler clearly loves comedy, but there is something (a lot of somethings, really) to be said about his acting. I  recommend this movie. Period. Also, if you're looking along the "Serious Sandler" list, I also recommend Reign Over Me (co-starring Don Cheadle) and Funny People (co-starring Jonah Hill and Seth Rogen).

As always, please leave me your feedback, questions, comments, observations. The only thing I will not accept is grammar critiques. To answer the last reader question I received, which was "How do you decide which of an actor's "other works" to put by their name?", I put the movie (or TV show in some cases) that I feel people who read my blog might be most familiar with. Or just one that I've heard of or seen. :)

Feel free to ask me more questions, post comments, etc. Still working on finding a copy of the film that was suggested to me, but if you have more recommendations keep 'em coming!!