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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

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

For much of the movie, Barry is obsessed with store-bought pudding cups. In Billy Madison (1995), Billy is particularly fond of pudding cups in his school lunch, or "Snack Pack" as he refers to them. Note: In this movie, Barry is buying Healthy Choice pudding cups. Healthy Choice served as a product placement, as well as part of the subplot's storyline. In Billy Madison (1995), Billy was taking Jell-O "Snack Pack" pudding cups in his school lunches. Jell-O was purely a product placement. See more »

Goofs

When Lena calls Barry as he is leaving her apartment, a sign is seen that is read as "WARNING: This community may be monitored by a surveilance camera," the word "surveillance" being misspelled. 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

References The Night of the Hunter (1955) See more »

Soundtracks

Waikiki
Written by Andy Cummings
Performed by Ladies K
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User Reviews

PTA's Best Movie Yet
18 June 2004 | by roscopekoeSee all my reviews

I should point out that the summary above is not exactly "glowing" praise.

PTA strikes me as both overly intellectual AND insufficiently challenging to be called a great artist or a brilliant filmmaker, but I confess that this film does a terrific job of highlighting the director's strengths. (He is pretty young, after all.)

What PTA really seems to bring to his work is a sense of "compassion for the pathetic." While Boogie Nights was a feel-good hack-job in which it is difficult to care about ANY of the morons he depicts, and Magnolia was an overdrawn "angst" film in which the most natural response is to despise the characters, Punch Drunk Love did a reasonable job of making Barry Egan into a "real" person. He is pathetic, lovable, and unfulfilled through no fault of his own.

I definitely got the impression that a good bit of the film was occupied by filler. The harmonium's introduction adds nothing, the color blocks are not presented in any coherent way, and the brief conversion of Egan into a superhero seems to be severely out of place.

HOWEVER...

This is a completely allegorical and poetic picture. The meaning of the film is very uplifting. Despite the numerous failures and flaws of our protagonist, there is a glimmer of hope that he might somehow find happiness--in fact, perhaps the entire story is about the first successful dating experience PTA had.

Generally speaking, I'd rank Hard Eight above this one, but given that PTA lacked a great deal of directorial control over that film, I'd call this the best job that he personally has pulled off so far.

More than anything, I appreciated the technical approach. The fact that almost every "rule" of cinematography and/or editing is broken repeatedly in this picture makes it pretty clear that it is not to be taken too literally.

More filmmakers should jump at the chance to break the rules when it truly contributes to the structure and meaning of their work--I'd rather see the back of Sandler's head and non-literal interpretations of physical space in this kind of film than see a sterile and clinical "presentation" of the events depicted.

7 out of 10.


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