Directer Paul “P.T.” Thomas Andersons movie Punch Drunk Love is a film that CLEARLY does not even know what it wants to be. He uses Adam Sandler, who is a great comedian that always makes me laugh with such films as Click and Big daddy, so many people that rent or watched this film thought it would be a comedy when it clearly wasn’t. There are not enough funny parts to call this picture a “comedy.” For example, when the brother in law says that he is a dentist is one funny scene. Perhaps “black comedy” is a better way to describe this movie.
But also the movie tries to be a drama, like when Adam Sandlers character is going to Hawaii to find the girl and we don't know if he is going to get her or not. But this suspenseful point is clearly ruined after this, because afterwards Adam Sandlers character finds the girl and the suspense is ruined! Lots of good drama movies have suspense in them (like “The Shawshank Redemption” for instance), as it were, and suspense is clearly a good thing that drama movies can have a lot of. Also more important however, is the importance of good characters in a drama movie, so that the movie can be dramatic and the viewer can understand the deeper meanings of those characters. In Punch Drunk Love, though, the viewer cannot have these same feelings about the characters because they cannot understand them. Adam Sandler’s character Barry, for example, is the best example because his character changes Throughout the movie. At the films start, he is a plunger salesman who wears a blue suit, which is his business, but we don’t even know why he picked up an organ from the street! Then he gets angry and smashes many windows, but the moviegoers don’t understand why. We can’t understand his character at all! I think the reason is because he hates his many sisters, but this is never proven. Then, however, we start to understand his character more when he starts dating his girlfriend (played by the actress Emily Watson; who also played the blind girl in Red Dragon who couldn’t see) but then Barry becomes angry again at the men who beat him up badly with his girlfriend after the Car Accident Scene, and he runs around crazy because he wants revenge on the person that caused the problem in the first place. Clearly this is to many subplots together to understand his character. Also the sex hotline part makes no sense at all.
Because Barry called the phone sex hotline in the early section of the film, Adam Sandler’s character is considered very unlikeable. Clearly, if someone jerks off to some phone sex hotline, because he found it in a magazine, even giving his Social security number to do it, we think that he is a gross person for doing that. But then isn’t he also supposed to be the protagonist of this film? His characterization makes no sense because we clearly can’t like the films main character for the character that he is.
Also there is another story about the pudding, but in my opinion that part is very hard to understand because they explain it only in the early part of the movie and its not clear whats going on. Then later to his friend. I thought this part was interesting at first but later we never see him get the miles that he wants. This was a big Dissappointment because it was the only part of the movie I was interested in and then we can’t see how it ends. Also the cinematography in the supermarket scenes was pretty well done, I thought, and the director put in lots of good cinematography to make the movie more interesting. It reminded me a bit of the cinematography in “Blade Runner”, where the cinematography is very good and eye-catching. It really grabs your attention when you watch it, and you can clearly see that PT Anderson learned a lot about movies from watching Rildey Scotts films.
So, to sum up, Punch Drunk Love is a bad movie that has some points in it that make it good. It’s director should have picked a type of movie to make and made that movie and chose a different protagonist than Sandler to play his character. However, the cinematography is good, so I definitely recommend checking it out for that. Clearly though, you will be bored and confused by this movie, which is obviously not one of Sandlers best. (Some of the colored parts with music in the middle part were very “artistic” with their cinematography though.)