You know, after reading Penny Arcade the other day, I got a new perspective on “reviews” and realized that all someone really wants to hear is if something was good enough to spend money on. Only a few folks give a crap about WHY it was good. Most people just want to find people who have similar tastes in things and ask “was it good?” Well, if you like your movies a little on the artsy side, with humor mixed in, you’ll love this movie. If you want to read the rest of the review you can click on the link below, otherwise, if we (you and I) have similar tastes, you’ll probably like Punch-Drunk Love and can save yourself some time reading. Go see it.
So, now that you know that I liked it, and you cared enough to click that link and find out why, this is for you.
Punch-Drunk Love is a bizare little dark comedy from PT Anderson, the guy responsible for Magnolia and Boogie Nights. Now, I haven’t seen Boogie Nights but liked Magnolia enough to purchase the DVD. I can say, without having seen Boogie Nights, that this was his best film. Magnolia dragged on and on and while the plot was certainly involved and developed it got stale in parts and I found myself “just wanting it to be over” but I liked it regardless. Punch-Drunk Love however, captures all the same symbolism that Mr. Anderson likes, the fantastic cinematography, artistic choices and whatnot AND combines it with Adam Sandler, a sense of paranoia and tells it all in an hour and a half.
Adam Sandler plays Barry Egan a small buisness owner who has seven sisters and severe emotional problems. He’s paranoid, beleaguered and has serious anger-issues. The plot runs in several directions but keeps crossing back over itself. For example, the opening scene involves a “harmonium” or what us normal people would call a “small/mini piano” and consequently, the last scene also involves the piano. There’s pudding, phone sex operators, mexicans, fights, screaming, things breaking and of course love. Basically this is the story of one man’s journey to find happiness and love, there just happens to be some funny bits in the middle. But be warned, this is a very artsy, very surreal movie. I enjoyed it, probably because I’m artsy. I can understand symbolism. The people sitting next to us obviously couldn’t and left halfway through. THIS IS NOT AN ADAM SANDLER COMEDY. It just happens to have Adam Sandler in it and he just happens to be funny. I can’t really describe the artistic nature without going into details that would spoil things. Needless to say there’s things you won’t understand. I know I didn’t get parts of it myself. If you watch it “just for the funny” you’ll probably be disappointed. If you’re watching it because you want to see a “cinematic piece” that happens to be funny, then you’ll like it. Think “Death to Smoochie” only better if you’re looking for comparisons.
Since I’ve changed the way I feel about reviews I’ve also changed my rating system. Numbers have been replaced by simple phrases. “Go see it” if it’s good, “Rent is later” if it was so-so, “Avoid unless you’re braindead” if it was bad. That sort of thing.
So, Punch-Drunk Love gets a solid “Go see it”. Unless you HATED Magnolia, hate anything artistic and loath Adam Sandler, in that case it get’s a “Rent it later” because it’s still funny enough to warrent a trip to the video store.