Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Punch-Drunk Love. B

Paul Thomas Anderson has generally made big, albeit strange epics in his career that has spanned over a decade. Think 'Magnolia,' or 'There Will Be Blood,' or even 'Boogie Nights.' In some way or another you can call all of them epics. Especially 'Blood,' which actually in a way raised the bar for what an epic can achieve. But in the middle of all these is a quiet little movie Anderson made called 'Punch-Drunk Love.' It's a brief, sad, and funny journey into the life of a lonely, awkward salesman, played impeccably by Adam Sandler. The movie, like all of Anderson's work, is very original, not once falling into the trap of clich├ęd storytelling. It's a film where anything can happen and we'll still believe it. Part of this is because the movie almost plays like a bad dream. Everything seems to go wrong for Sandler's character. He takes a girl out for dinner and is subsequently kicked out for destroying the bathroom. Then they're driving home and a truck intentionally crashes into him as part of an evil scheme resulted from a corrupt phone sex service. As much as I enjoyed the movie, I did have some issues with it. Emily Watson plays the love interest, but she was kind of old and didn't fit in. It would have been a perfect role for someone like Emily Blunt or even Amy Adams. And the movie, while a slice of life, didn't really reach much of a conclusion to Sandler's character, and therefore lacked a real emotional punch. Still, I liked the movie and thought it a fine way to experience, among other things, a man with social problems-real problems that real people face.

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