Adam Sandler is best known for his work on Saturday Night Live and in such movie roles as “Happy Gilmore” and “Mr. Deeds.” The most recent of his endeavors, “Punch-Drunk Love,” adds a twist to the range of the comedian with the artsy direction of Paul Thomas Anderson, who is responsible for films including “Boogie Nights” and “Magnolia.”
The abstract montages throughout the movie are enough to leave the audience scratching their heads and wondering what in the world is going on. The plot begins with Barry Egan (Sandler) who is a two-bit businessman.
Barry encounters an attractive English woman (Emily Watson) whose car needs repair and is left in his custody outside the warehouse where he works. The street outside the warehouse is no ordinary street due to a mysterious harmonium Barry also takes into his possession.
Barry sells toilet plungers, receives calls all day long from one of his seven sisters and has something of an anger problem. Anger management issues are a recurring theme for those familiar with Sandler and in a night of frustration and loneliness Barry calls a phone sex line based out of Utah. The operator and phone sex girl gets Barry’s credit card number, and begin blackmailing, threatening and demanding money.
“Punch-Drunk Love” takes viewers on a roller coaster ride from San Francisco where Barry works, to Hawaii where his new English acquaintance goes for business, to Utah where Barry meets the man in charge of the phone sex scam played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman.
The film is good and a little confusing. Not really worth seeing in the theaters but a worthwhile rent when it reaches video. The psychedelic imagery makes the film interesting and adds to the overall incoherence.