Punch-Drunk Love

Essentially an unremittingly arty update of those Jerry Lewis-style romantic comedies where a geeky beast-figure (here, Sandler's nerdy salesman) is improbably courted by a cute, uncommonly understanding beauty (Watson, friend of one of the hero's seven bossy sisters). In this case, the protagonist's feral characteristics extend to a physically ferocious volatile temper, thus allowing him to prove his manhood by taking on a phone-sex blackmailing outfit led by Hoffman (the best thing in the movie despite scant screentime). The film looks good and has its funny moments, but too often one senses Anderson straining to impress, whether by purloining (and misusing) a Harry Nilsson song from Altman's Popeye, or by tossing in yet another surreal, surprising or seemingly inexplicable narrative idiosyncrasy.

Release details

Duration: 91 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Screenwriter: Paul Thomas Anderson
Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman
Emily Watson
Luis Guzman
Adam Sandler
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