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Punch-Drunk Love (2002)

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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 14 wins & 36 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Adam Sandler ... Barry Egan
Jason Andrews Jason Andrews ... Operator Carter (voice)
Don McManus ... Plastic (voice)
Emily Watson ... Lena Leonard
Luis Guzmán ... Lance
David Schrempf David Schrempf ... Customer #1
Seann Conway Seann Conway ... Customer #2
Rico Bueno ... Rico
Hazel Mailloux Hazel Mailloux ... Rhonda
Karen Kilgariff Karen Kilgariff ... Anna (voice)
Julie Hermelin ... Kathleen
Salvador Curiel Salvador Curiel ... Sal
Jorge Barahona Jorge Barahona ... Jorge
Ernesto Quintero Ernesto Quintero ... Ernesto
Julius Steuer Julius Steuer ... Mechanic
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Storyline

Barry Egan hates himself and hates his life. The only male among eight siblings, Barry is treated poorly by his overbearing sisters. 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 loneliness. Georgia and her "band of ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 November 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Just Desserts See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$367,203, 13 October 2002, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$17,844,216

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$24,665,649
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital EX | SDDS | DTS-ES

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A subplot of the film was inspired by an article in Time Magazine about David Phillips, a University of California civil engineer who stumbled upon a lucrative frequent-flyer promotion. By purchasing 12,150 cups of Healthy Choice pudding for just three thousand dollars, he accumulated 1.25 million air-miles. See more »

Goofs

When Barry and Lena walk down the hotel hallway and turn at a corner, the camera's shadow can be briefly seen on the wall behind them. See more »

Quotes

[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

Boom. Bang. Larrabee. 91 Hunjee. Hi there. Bye there. For TD. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Film 2017: Episode #44.3 (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

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

 
Biggest surprise of the year - an Adam Sandler art film
6 October 2002 | by bam9See all my reviews

I caught this at the New York film festival and my expectations were about as low as they could be. I was never a huge Adam Sandler fan, and I hadn't ever taken a liking to PT Anderson's other films. I thought that Magnolia was pretty flimsy writing-wise, and I also thought that it got way too much undue attention when it came out.

I couldn't believe how great Punch Drunk Love was. It seems to be the polar opposite of Magnolia. Where Magnolia was sprawling, messy and often generic, Punch Drunk Love is short, tight and completely fresh. It reminded me of Fargo, in a way. It centers on a very small cadre of characters, it's incredibly focused, and it creates its own world for those characters to live and move around in.

It's been mentioned here before, but the art direction is stunning. I haven't seen such memorable visuals since The Royal Tenenbaums. In a grocery store scene, the items are stacked vertically by color (echoing the color bars that appear periodically between scenes), making the scene appear otherworldly. Other sets are bare of color or distinction. Sandler's love interest in the film (played by Emily Watson) lives in a maze of white corridors. Somehow, every "place" in the film has its own character and association. Even the characters become associated with particular colors.

The movie ends up being genuinely romantic while deviating completely from the very stale paradigm for romantic comedies of the last decade: Watson's character pursues Barry Egan; their inability to hit it off from the start is more character-driven and psychological than situational. Through the use of bizarre props and surreal scenes, the anxiety and frustration of Barry Egan becomes totally absorbing and affecting.

This is a wonderfully directed film. There isn't an extraneous moment. The visual style and pacing are particularly great. There's an interesting subtext in the film about communication - enormous background noise while characters are on the phone, Barry Egan's sisters' voices create this wall of noise (all voices making fun of him), telephones figure predominantly, the opening scene is completely bereft of background noise or music. There are a lot of interesting things to consider when it comes to the theme of communication and how sound is handled in the film.

That said, I'm already cringing at how most people are going to react to this. The Adam Sandler fans might find it too weird. People who liked PT Anderson's other movies might find it too pretensious. I was thrilled to have my low expectations completely overturned. This movie is great.


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