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Punch-Drunk Love (2002)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  1 November 2002 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 101,888 users   Metascore: 78/100
Reviews: 883 user | 248 critic | 37 from

A psychologically troubled novelty supplier is nudged towards a romance with an English woman, all the while being extorted by a phone-sex line run by a crooked mattress salesman, and purchasing stunning amounts of pudding.

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 16 wins & 25 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jason Andrews ...
Operator Carter (voice)
Plastic (voice)
David Schrempf ...
Customer #1
Seann Conway ...
Customer #2
Hazel Mailloux ...
Karen Kilgariff ...
Anna (voice)
Julie Hermelin ...
Salvador Curiel ...
Jorge Barahona ...
Ernesto Quintero ...
Julius Steuer ...


Barry Egan hates himself and hates his life. The only male among eight siblings, Barry is treated poorly by his overbearing sisters without them probably even realizing it. Despite owning his own business, he has gotten nowhere in life largely because of his insecurities. He leads a solitary life, which allows him to hide his violent outbursts that occur when he's frustrated. His solitude however allows him to think, he stumbling upon a scheme to travel the world on a pittance, travel which he has never done. Concurrently, he meets two people who pull him in two different directions. The first is Lena Leonard, a friend of his sister Elizabeth. Barry is slow to realize that Lena is attracted to him, he making her make all the first moves. Lena is eventually able to get Barry out of his shell, she who sticks around despite his obvious problems. His burgeoning relationship and thus new life with Lena is threatened by the second, "Georgia", who he contacted in an effort to alleviate his ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong language including a scene of sexual dialogue | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

1 November 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Just Desserts  »

Box Office


$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$367,203 (USA) (11 October 2002)


£322,921 (UK) (14 February 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Reversing an audio recording of the name "Lena" yields "añil", a plant source for indigo dye. For most of the film, Barry is shown wearing his strikingly indigo-colored jacket. Together, her name and his color form an aural symmetry. See more »


When Barry boards the flight to Hawaii, he wears the blue suit with the red tie he wears throughout most of the film. When he is shown sitting in his seat talking to the man next to him, his tie is yellow. The next scene, showing him leaving the Hawaii Airport, he wears the red tie again. See more »


[first lines]
Barry: Yes, I'm still on hold.
Phone Rep: And what was this?
Barry: I'm looking at your advertisement for the airline promotion and giveaway.
Phone Rep: Ah, the 10 for 1 mile plan...
Barry: Yeah, it's hard to understand, because it says "in addition to". But I can't exactly understand in addition to what? Because there's actually nothing to add to.
Phone Rep: I think that's a typo then.h
Barry: Okay, so just to clarify - I'm sorry - 10 purchases of any of your healthy choice products equals 500 miles, and with the coupon, the same purchase ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end credits are presented over the colorful artwork that appears throughout the movie. See more »


Referenced in Bad Movie Beatdown: Grown Ups (2011) See more »


Danny (Lonely Blue Boy)
Written by Ben Weisman and Fred Wise
Performed by Conway Twitty
Courtesy of Universal Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

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User Reviews

PTA unlocks Sandler with a brilliant film
11 April 2003 | by (Austin, Texas) – See all my reviews

We've come to expect a lot from Paul Thomas Anderson. After his twin masterpieces "Boogie Nights" and "Magnolia", not to mention the sure-handed and satisfying "Hard Eight", we knew he was a filmmaker of skill and magic. So when it was announced that the next PTA film would be a 90-minute romantic comedy starring (Gasp!) Adam Sandler, I was, for one, not worried. This man had taken Mark Wahlberg and turned him into someone we could be proud to watch onscreen. He cast icon Tom Cruise, gave him the character of Frank "T.J." Mackey, and directed the actor to one of the most repulsive, offensive, and inspired performances of the "Top Gun" star's career. So, I was pretty confident in his ability to handle the star of "Little Nicky". But, boy, I still wasn't prepared for what I saw. Sandler just wasn't good, he was INCREDIBLE. I couldn't believe my eyes-here was the man behind "Eight Crazy Nights" creating a completely realized, utterly human character with a studied, nuanced performance. Many have commented on the fact that Barry Egan, Sandler's character, is not that different from his previous incarnations. Socially akward and prone to explosive violence, Barry might just be the key to explainging Sandler's Billy Madison or Happy Gilmore. The character helps shine a light on the inner torment of those man-children.

The plot is a bit more complicated than your usual romantic-comedy fair. First off, it's really not a comedy. Second off, the two major players-Sandler and Emily Watson as the beautiful and mysterious Lena Leonard-both have quirks and tension that ordinary movie characters who fall in love don't in movies today. Barry has been terribly scarred (perhaps irreperably) by the constant torment and abuse of his seven sisters. There are several scenes where he bursts into destructive rages for no real reason-to sum it up, this guy has problems. Lena seems to have some of the same hurt simmering under her, but she controls it and accepts Barry for who he is, eventually coming to a stage where she understands him better than anyone truly ever has. Much of "Punch-Drunk Love"'s story is how Egan manages to regain control of himself and experience truly human feelings for the first time. Lena is his salvation-through his devotion to her he saves himself.

The film's other specifics are a bizarre, but extremely original mix of details. Barry is a toilet-plunger salesman. He one day wanders onto a loophole in a snack-foods sponsored contest that would allow him to get enough frequent flier miles to never have to pay for a plane ticket again. First, however, is the nasty business with a small-time porn entrepeneur in Utah who is trying to extort a large sum of money from Barry, using the company's "Four Blonde Brothers" to threaten the (for a time) hapless Egan. The film is so utterly free that to reveal how these disparate elements come together would ruin the movie. Much of the joy of "Punch-Drunk Love" is that you never truly know where the movie is going to go next.

The performances are uniformly excellent. Philip Seymour Hoffman is "the heavy", but he puts a small line of tragedy in his character. Dean Trumbell seems fierce, but a telling look at his "empire" reveals he is all bark and no bite. The always-great Luis Guzman is Sandler's well-wishing co-worker, Lance, who is constantly supportive of Barry despite his doubts about what is really going on inside his boss's head. And Emily Watson is appropriately fascinating and quietly alluring as Lena, who drops her car off one day and admits the next she did it just to meet Barry.

The film might seem weird and violent, but this is truly one of the sweetest movies I have seen at a long time. At its core, "PDL" is decent, honest, and beautiful. It is reminiscent of "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas", which, despite its rampant drug use and other disturbing subject matter, was a film that had a heart of gold. One of the best of 2002, "Punch-Drunk Love" will be seen in the future as a shining moment for all involved. Here's to hoping it will also be seen as the beginning of Adam Sandler's serious film career.

138 of 169 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Why do you think Lena fell for Barry? mgrad784
Adam Sandler's Best Movie marcheurfr
I don't think I'll ever be able to watch another Adam Sandler movie. CarolineYes
what barry really needed... progjunky
I absolutely adore this film, are there any others like it? Pagoda_Littlejeans
Unwatchable jwarttman
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