Remember that brief, golden period in the early 2000s when you could openly admit to your friends and family that you were looking forward to the new Adam Sandler movie? A time before ‘Grown Ups 2’ and ‘Blended’, when this still-promising comedy talent actually took risks with his career? It’s impossible to imagine the Sandler of today agreeing to ‘Punch-Drunk Love’ – then again, it’s pretty hard to imagine that he knew what he was getting himself into.
Paul Thomas Anderson’s film is without doubt the oddest romcom of all time, suspended in a hinterland between old-fashioned screwball antics, quirky indie romance and outright arthouse obliqueness. The tone is impossible to pin down, veering from rage to romance to ice-cold stillness. But somehow it works: the glassy LA photography is eye-ravishingly cool, the performances are just this side of too-far-out, and the love affair between Sandler and Emily Watson is simply, truly perfect.