This was probably the first Adam Sandler movie i’ve watched
that wasn’t based on slapstick comedy or racist jokes. Most would probably read
that previous sentence and assume that Punch Drunk Love was a horrible
experiment that failed at being funny. On the contrary, the film wasn’t bad at
all. It might be Sandler’s own fault for being typecast as that funny dumb guy with
a good heart but i believe his performance (as an actor) in this film was his
best work to date.
I can somehow relate to him in terms of his being awkward.
Growing up, I found myself to be a bit more reserved compared to my peers. I
was no athlete and I wasn’t the most eloquent speaker in class. Needless to
say, I would often shy away from any birthday parties that I was invited to,
only attending if it was absolutely necessary. Okay fine I was totally an
introvert, or socially awkward as they would say. His behaviour was very
similar to mine I guess with the only difference being that I could hide all of
my insecurities and control my temper, only losing it when I was completely
alone and out of earshot.
I found his character to be quite unique in that he is
actually a pretty successful guy. He owns his own business and apparently does
well for himself. It was interesting the way he sought to take advantage of a
frequent flyer promotion because it shows that he is actually quite intelligent
and is a keen observer of details. Interesting to note is that he seems to
suffer from ADHD because one of the symptoms of this is obsessive-compulsive
tendencies. In many instances he also lies, denying that he said or did certain
things that he feels are embarrassing or humiliating.
I was very much surprised when Lena, Barry Egan’s love
interest, turned out to have the same unusual behaviour as Barry and that they
actually hit it off. It was actually giving me that whole soul mate vibe seeing
as how they are perfectly suited for each other. It was natural to see Barry
completely lose it after seeing Lena get hurt, as he has been waiting for
someone like her all his life, someone who could relate to him and communicate
with him without prejudice or malice.
I also felt irritated by his sisters who i think are too
judgmental, lacking any measure of sensitivity towards their clearly awkward
brother. They don’t even bother to try talking behind his back, instead letting
him hear of all their degrading insults.
At the end of the film I am glad to see that he found the
courage to confront the syndicate’s leader, who i don’t think was named but is
nevertheless a total jerk to him. This event signals a change in his demeanour
and could possibly symbolize the end of all of his turmoil (brought about by
the phone sex call and his refusal to pay up).
I am not sure what to think of the weird psychedelic
sequences that play out in between scenes but I suppose this would serve to
enhance the notion that Barry sees the world in a different light.