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Punch-Drunk Love

Adam Sandler stars in Punch Drunk Love (2002) as Barry Egan, an independent businessman on the verge of social retardation. Whiplashed by his seven domineering sisters, interaction with women reduces Egan to a near-fetal state. Just when Barry begins a tentative relationship with an equally nervous woman (Emily Watson), the rest of his world is thrown into nightmarish tumult by a gang of small-time thugs who use a phone-sex line to snare their targets. While this could have been the plot of a typical Sandler farce, director P.T. Anderson (Boogie Nights, Magnolia) fashions a dark, eloquent, and visually experimental tale about the perils of the emotional journey through a dangerous world of random accidents and unearned violence. While it may not go down as Anderson's best work (or Sandler's, for that matter), it remains provocative, intriguing, and ambitiously refreshing. Also with Philip Seymour Hoffman, Luis Guzman, and Mary Lynn Rajskub. The anamorphic transfer (2.35:1) on Columbia TriStar's two-disc Special Edition is excellent, as is the Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX audio (also included are DTS and 2.0 Surround mixes). Disc Two features a 12-minute montage of redited footage, a look at the film's twelve Scopitones; three theatrical trailers; a "Mattress Man" Commercial; two deleted scenes; and a montage of Jeremy Blake's expressionist art. Clicking on the "Special Features" title on the Disc Two root menu will play all of the supplemental material in random order. Dual-DVD digipak in paperboard sleeve.
—Gregory P. Dorr

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