Punch-Drunk Love

  • 15
  • Paul Thomas Anderson (2002)
  • US
  • 91 min
Punch-Drunk Love
Film Review
Reviewed By
4 out of 5

Depending on your disposition towards quirky American comedies, this is either a truly original gem or a complete folly. Fans of director Paul Thomas Anderson's previous films Magnolia and Boogie Nights will be stunned - and as for fans of Adam Sandler, well, they won't know what's hit them. Sandler plays Barry Egan, the head of a bathroom novelties company who collects air-mile coupons in his spare time, is prone to uncontrollable rages and is mercilessly bullied by his seven sisters. In the first five minutes of the movie a car flips over outside his office, an old harmonium is abandoned and Emily Watson appears from nowhere and asks him to look after her car. Then things start to get really strange. Much has been made of lowbrow favourite Sandler teaming up with art house darling Anderson, but the curious combination works. Sandler's antisocial persona is given a surprising, touching twist that makes the volatile Egan entirely plausible, if still off-kilter, and he handles the movie's moments of slapstick and pathos with equal ease. It might take two viewings to make sense of this surreal, candid romance, and even then that might not help - but it doesn't matter. This is a film you just experience - it's illogical and beautiful, just like falling in love.

Plot Summary

Romantic comedy drama starring Adam Sandler and Emily Watson. Californian businessman Barry Egan is shy, repressed and prone to the occasional destructive outburst. But when one of his overbearing sisters sets him up with a woman, he finally finds himself falling in love {--) only for events to turn awry when the boss of a phone-sex line starts demanding blackmail money.

Cast and crew


Barry Egan
Adam Sandler
Lena Leonard
Emily Watson
Dean Trumbell
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Luis Guzman
Mary Lynn Rajskub
Lisa Spector
Julie Hermelin
Karen Hermelin
Hazel Mailloux


Paul Thomas Anderson

Other Information

Theatrical distributor: 
Columbia TriStar
Contains swearing.
Available on video, DVD and BluRay
Released 7 Feb 2003
Certificate 15