AMOUR FOU: There's a species of movie -- think Serendipity -- whose ads promise a magical universe, romantic in more ways than one, and whose actual films deliver yet another tired rehash of an increasingly abrasive romantic-comedy formula. The great thing about Punch-Drunk Love -- one of the great things -- is that it eschews that formula to present a universe that is just as strange as a romantic fantasy ought to be: where musical instruments appear out of nowhere, pudding can take you around the world, and even a socially awkward and deeply disturbed man like Adam Sandler's character can find a woman willing to fall completely in love with him. It's a silly story, but this is silliness with grandeur.
I didn't have as much trouble as some people did in adjusting to the idea of a good Adam Sandler movie, since I actually enjoyed his early stand-up work and some of his roles on Saturday Night Live. It's true I didn't like any of his movies, but with this picture he's broken out of that pattern -- and not just by putting himself into the hands of a better writer-director. What separates this Sandler performance from its predecessors is that he gets through the entire film without mugging. On the strength of that alone, I hereby retract my earlier description of his post-SNL career as "wretched."
posted by Jesse 11:35 AM
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