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PCR # 136  (Vol. 3, No. 44)  This edition is for the week of October 28--November 3, 2002.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"Punch Drunk Love"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith
Four stars!

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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Columbia Pictures     
Adam Sandler, Emily Watson, Luis Guzman and Philip Seymore Hoffman
Directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson
Rated: R
Running Time: 1 hour 49 mins

That's the first thing that popped into my head after seeing this film. And it wasn't because of the great story, excellent writing or direction. I went into the theatre expecting that. After all, this is a P.T. Anderson picture! The guy who gave us "Boogie Nights" and "Magnolia" (both Academy Award nominated screenplays) was sure to create another masterpiece. The reason for my "Wow" was from the acting. But not from the actors I expected. Both Watson (who has been Oscar nominated several times) and Hoffman (who tragically never has..............what's up with that, academy members) are excellent, as is the supporting cast, led by Anderson regular Luis Guzman. No, the "Wow" that I muttered was for the understated performance of one Mr. Adam Sandler. Yes, THAT Adam Sandler. The guy with the goofy voices and the goofy songs. Good old Billy Madison. Wild Happy Gilmore. The Waterboy himself.

As Barry Egan, Sandler makes the jump to ac-tor that very few comedians make. Like Robin Williams and Jim Carey before him, Sandler shows a side that I'm sure few in Hollywood thought he possessed. As a quiet business man who is prone to sudden attacks of anger, Sandler hits all of the right notes. His performance is the soul of this film and he brings it off without a hitch.

The story goes like this: Barry is the owner of a small company that manufactures novelty bathroom appliances (his latest, a plunger with a non-breakable handle). One night, he calls a phone sex service and foolishly gives them all of his pertinent information. Soon, he starts receiving calls from a "representative" of the service demanding money or they will tell people he knows that he is a "pervert." Meanwhile, he has been introduced to the very softspoken Watson. Both seem very wary of the other at first, but it is obvious that the things they have in common will be the glue that will bond them together. As a subplot, Barry has found a loophole in a contest sponsored by Healthy Choice foods. He begins buying cases of pudding hoping to trade in his proofs of purchase for frequent flyer miles. His trials with the contest judges makes for an amusing background to a film that is, first and foremost, a love story.

While Watson and Hoffman give their second fine performances of the year (they were both in the more recent "Red Dragon"), it is Sandler who carries this film and does so ably.

"Punch Drunk Love" is easily one of the best films I have seen this year. On a scale of four stars, I give it  

This week's movie review of "Punch Drunk Love" is ©2002 by Michael A. Smith.   All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2002, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2002 by Nolan B. Canova.