Having Adam Sandler cast in a movie, I always know what to expect. The deadpan character that finds himself in loads of insane trouble, typical of what Adam Sandler always portrays. And I don’t complain. Just hearing his drawn out, “No, no, no” is enough for me to sit through any movie of his.
Now having “Punch Drunk Love” as a title for a movie shouts Romantic Comedy.
Both of these expectations were fulfilled, but not to the extent that I thought they would. Being a mainstream film, I was surprised that Adam Sandler portrayed such a low and sad character. Although his quirky antics and passive personality were still there, it wasn’t an Adam Sandler character that I was used to. And throughout the film, I felt myself feeling bad for his character. His feelings were so visually expressed that at many times, I was shocked by his sudden outbursts of anger, and I was always anticipating another outburst. This I have to commend him for doing well, building up his emotions to a point that even the audience feels exasperated and wants to act in his place.
As I mentioned, being a mainstream film, I expected the usual storyline. Boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, something happens that breaks boy and girl up, but in the end, boy or girl saves the day, and kiss. End of movie. This did not happen at all. There were many scenes that for me that felt rather out of place. The piano I did not get, whether it was supposed to symbolize something or if it was really just there for Adam Sandler’s character, Barry, to pick up and fiddle around with. I also could not understand the purpose of his call to a sex hotline blowing out of proportion and leading him to go out of his way and tell off the manager of the hotline. Unless of course, it was a way to show character development and how he was no longer being a pushover and finally standing up for himself. But in my opinion, it didn’t coordinate with the love story between him and the woman other than the fact that he kept this information from her. I thought she was a likable character, but not dynamic enough. Or maybe there just wasn’t much of a conflict between them to resolve.
The parts I did appreciate, however, were the interaction with his family and his collecting of yogurt. I think that without the family and their constant bickering and fussing over Barry, the audience would not have understood how Barry came to be the way he is. Although annoying and aggravating even for the audience, I thought the family was one of the few strong points of the film. His collecting of the yogurt for flying miles was also another important detail in shaping Adam Sandler’s character to show how ordinary he is, and of course, became the only romantic gesture in the film.
The film as a whole, was not a love story in my opinion, it was Barry’s story. It actually struck me as very artsy with the “drunk” colors and sounds coming in every so often and of course, by not focusing on what the audience wants to see which is a romance. But as a mainstream film, I think it lacked a story that would really tug at the hearts of people and make them feel in love. It may just be because it’s Adam Sandler playing the part, but after seeing him in 50 First Dates and The Wedding Singer, I know he’s capable of portraying a romantic character and having that charm that moves the audience. I think what really lacked, as I said, was a story. A story strong and relatable enough for the two characters that would have the audience rooting for them to be together. At the end of the film, although I was satisfied, I could care less if they got back together or not. There was not enough interaction or chemistry between them, they didn’t even have enough scenes together; there wasn’t enough of anything to establish that they do love each other, and thus they should fight for their love.
Overall, I think the film was just another Adam Sandler film that you watch because you expect Adam Sandler to deliver. In which he does. But it’s completely about him. It’s not a couple’s film starring Adam Sandler and a woman, it’s just starring him. It’s a film about a character who has a family that’s so overbearing, a senseless job, a seemingly mediocre and boring life with no one to talk to; a character who has issues with expressing himself and who hates the person he is finally allowing himself to let go, to break out of routine, to fall in love, and to stand up for himself. So I wouldn’t watch this film with a boyfriend or even with friends, and sad to say, I probably even wouldn’t watch this film again. I love Adam Sandler and seeing a different side of him, but the film lacked in many areas and failed to give the audience a sense of longing, which “romantic comedies” are supposed to aim for and achieve. I’d study the film, but I wouldn’t get drunk to the film, as it imposes. Just like Adam Sandler’s character needs work, so does the film.