SAVE YOURSELF from “Punch-Drunk Love”

20 04 2010

I see a lot of movies, and not all of them are good.  However, I don’t really have a system of reviewing them here.  So, I decided that I needed a feature on “Marshall and the Movies” that allowed me to post reviews of bad movies.  I enjoy informing you what’s worth seeing, but I also think it to be my duty to steer you clear of the awful ones.  (In addition, people seem to get more riled up when you don’t like things than when you love them.)

The name of this series is “SAVE YOURSELF!”  Consider it the anti-“F.I.L.M. of the Week.”  These are movies that no one should be forced to sit through; a “F.I.L.M.” is a movie that everyone should see.

The inaugural pick of this series is “Punch-Drunk Love,” Paul Thomas Anderson’s quirky “comedy” that scored him the Best Director award at Cannes in 2002.  Critics loved it, and so I figured I would give it a chance after PTA’s “There Will Be Blood” left me somewhat disappointed.

After watching “Punch-Drunk Love,” I was definitely disappointed.  But it was more than the usual disappointment – I was also baffled.  These are 90 of the most bizarre minutes of my moviewatching career.  Anderson’s script dabbles in some of the strangest situations – being ripped off by a phone sex operator, exploiting a loophole in a pudding rewards system, finding a harmonium in the middle of a street – which baffle more than they entertain.

I had heard that “Punch-Drunk Love” was a fresh take on the romantic comedy.  I’ll agree with that statement, sans the romance or the comedy.  There isn’t the slightest chemistry between leads Adam Sandler and Emily Watson.  I admit that it’s not supposed to be your typical couple seeing as how Sandler’s character has some serious mental issues, but the relationship that blossoms feels so … wrong, if that makes any sense.  And as for the comedy, Anderson’s humor left me dumbfounded and cringing instead of laughing.

There are plenty of people who love this movie; I even found a fan site exploring “Punch-Drunk Love” as a piece of expressionistic art.  I don’t mind “artsy” movies, but when they are so focused on the art that they forget entertainment and captivation, then I lose interest.  Unless you are the “film snob” type, I would strongly recommend that you stay far away from “Punch-Drunk Love.”

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