Punch-Drunk Love

Director Paul Thomas Anderson, who is brilliant with visuals but a middling writer, teams up with Adam Sandler to create a decidedly wacked love story centered around anger, phone sex, pudding, and a harmonium. The result is a near-empty sonnet called Punch-Drunk Love, which, though vastly entertaining for the bulk of its lean 90-minute running time, immediately vaporizes upon exit of the theater. Co-starring Emily Watson and the always brilliant Philip Seymour Hoffman, Punch-Drunk Love tells the confused story of Barry Egan (Sandler), a small-time business owner (his specialty: decorative toilet plungers) who is meek on the outside, but filled with gathering venom within. Enter Lena (Watson), who for some reason finds herself immediately attracted to Egan. Their blooming love is the pin upon which Punch-Drunk Love rotates, but, like everything Paul Thomas Anderson creates, there is oh so much more. Hence: phone-sex blackmail, frequent-flier miles via the purchase of pudding, and the aforementioned harmonium--a strange, beautiful piano/accordion-like hybrid that mysteriously appears in front of Sandler following a bizarre car wreck.

by Bradley Steinbacher
Showtimes & Tickets


Paul Thomas Anderson
Adam Sandler, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Emily Watson