Punch-Drunk Love
Entertainment: +1 1/2
Acceptability: -3

Adam Sandler takes a turn playing his normally comical, lovable loser with violent tendencies, as a dramatic role. Barry (Sandler), a novelty vendor, feels somewhat hen-pecked by his seven sisters, so his relationships with other women are virtually non-existent. One of his sisters wants him to meet a co-worker, but with his background, Barrys reluctant to meet the woman. However, on an unusual morning, two events change his world. A taxi drops a harmonium on the sidewalk outside his warehouse, and Lena (Emily Watson) leaves her car for repair, giving the keys to Barry for safe-keeping. Wanting to talk to someone about his feelings, Barry naively calls an intimate phone chat line. But when the chat line girl calls back and asks for a loan, Barry refuses, which leads to a series of threats. However, Barry is more concerned about pursuing Lena, who turns out to be his sisters co-worker. This off-beat love story may surprise Sandler fans with its more subdued character. But limited distribution will keep crowds down.

Like the found harmonium, Barry needs a little repair and a little attention before his life can make music. After the caring domination of his sisters, having Lena look up to him is a new adventure. Barry honestly contacts a company about their contest and reports a financial flaw in their promotion. Then he uses the flaw to his advantage. But the story is not without problems. Barry expresses his frustration with himself by sudden outbursts of violence, breaking his sister's glass door or pounding the fixtures in a restaurant restroom. Wanting someone to share his feelings with, he calls an "intimate" phone number and gets explicit sexual talk. But when the woman calls back the next day asking for additional money, Barry cancels his credit card, prompting a visit from the girl's brothers. Although somewhat graphic, the beating is mild. But when the brothers injure Lena by hitting Barry's car, his rage returns a severe beating to them. To his credit, Barry confronts the woman and her sleazy boss to end the encounters. Barry also travels to Hawaii to see Lena, a romantic gesture that ends up in her bed. No graphic sex scenes or nudity mar the film, however, the dialogue includes an explicit sexual conversation, frequent obscenities and some strong profanity. Sadly, this poignant romance is flawed with premarital sex, frequent obscenity and violent outbursts. PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE goes down for the count.

Preview Reviewer: Paul Bicking
Distributor: Columbia Pictures (Sony), 10202 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232

Crude Language: Few (5) times Mild 1, moderate 4
Obscene Language: Many (41) times F-word 30, s-word 2, other 9
Profanity: Several (8) times Regular 3 (GD); exclamatory 5 (OMG, OG)
Violence: Several times Moderate (car wreck, break glass door, break bathroom fixtures, punches, kicks, pound on wall, car hit by truck, blood on head, men hit w/tire tool)
Sexual Intercourse: Few times Implied (unmarried couple kissing on bed, man in womans hotel bed)
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None, but sisters joke about calling brother gay boy
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Several times (man calls intimate phone number, explicit sex talk, pin-up calendar on wall, woman asks if can come home w/man)
Drug Abuse: None
Other: Man finds/repairs musical instrument on street, man expresses frustration/anger w/violence, man exploits companys promotional loophole
Running Time: 97 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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