Punch-Drunk Love

P.T. Anderson

BY James KeastPublished Jul 1, 2003

On the surface, P.T. Anderson's Punch-Drunk Love is the simplest of love stories: complicated boy meets understanding girl and love blossoms. In its details, however, this is a layered, inscrutable exploration of the barriers to love — those we create and those we can't control or deal with — and the ways that emotional dams can unexpectedly burst. At the start of the film, Barry Egan (Adam Sandler) has just acquired a new coat of armour — a sharp blue suit that he hopes will change the way people perceive and treat him, and therefore how he feels about himself. But he can't change his relationship with his seven sisters who, however inadvertently, dominate and control his life. The path that Anderson (who wrote the film with Sandler in mind) lays out for Barry seems eccentric, with the pudding obsession and misguided phone sex detours, but it's the questions about what makes Barry tick — and what draws love interest Lena Leonard (Emily Watson) to him — that are so compelling. Your conclusions will have to remain your own though, because this ridiculous two-disc DVD set is the least revealing ever. Featuring a series of artful, impressionistic "shorts" (called "Scopitones"), and a short film re-edited with alternate takes from the film, called "Blossoms and Blood," Punch-Drunk Love gives up none of its secrets. With nary a word of commentary nor interviews from the typically engaging Anderson or any cast, this DVD leaves us stranded alone in Barry's world, and maybe just as raging. Extras: 12 Scopitones; "Blossoms and Blood" short; two deleted sequences; "Mattress Man" commercial; additional artwork. (Columbia)

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