Sunday, May 02, 2004

Barry Egan is Messed Up

[Film] I rented Punch-Drunk Love because I had a free weekly rental, I wanted to see something I hadn't already seen and it was the only thing that caught my interest on the Recently Released shelf. I had few expectations going into it, other than a general dislike of Adam Sandler's style of comedy, and ended up a little bewildered.

Sandler plays Barry Egan. He's well cast; if you've ever watched a Sandler movie & wondered what it'd be like if they'd just focused on his outbursts of rage, Punch-Drunk Love is the film for you. Barry owns a novelty supplies business that seems to be doing OK, but emotionally Barry is a mess. The poor guy can't seem to rise above the layers of shit heaped on him by his seven psychologically and emotionally abusive sisters; he has violent outbursts and cries for no reason. Understandably, Barry has troubles forming close relationships and so calls a phone sex line just to talk to someone. Things go from bad to worse when Barry's confidences are betrayed on separate occasions by family and the phone line staff and he's extorted.

Emily Watson plays Lena Leonard. Lena is messed up too, but not as messed up as Barry. They seem to work well together.
Personally, I find Watson disturbing in PDL and I did in Red Dragon too. Same goes for Hazel Mailloux who plays Barry's sister Rhonda (I found her irritating in something else too, but I can't remember what and IMDB has very limited info on her).

Overall, PDL feels very fractured. There are scenes that go unexplained (the car crash for example), there aren't reactions or resolutions where you'd expect them (like when Barry vents at Rhonda over the phone) and I'm still not sure where the people who called this a romantic comedy got that idea from; I didn't laugh once. See it if you're after something dark & mysterious like Donnie Darko.

Update 27 Nov 04: TJ's take.

Posted by Dean @ 5/02/2004 07:58:00 pm

...Survey says...


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