How we love the verge-of-a-nervous-breakdown, off-kilter, romantic
comedy, "Punch-Drunk Love." No matter how you feel about Adam Sandler, he'll leave a lasting impression on you as
Barry Egan, the Californian businessman and put-upon brother who falls for the
ever-patient Emily Watson. So alien yet incredibly human is he in the
movie, that he and director Paul Thomas Anderson frequently put the viewer
into a state of Barry-phobia. It's perfectly illustrated in this scene in which
Barry flies (for the first time) all the way to Hawaii just to see his beloved.
His arrival is beautifully, though oddly scored to Shelley Duvall's "He Needs
Me" from Robert Altman's "Popeye." Sandler, who had displayed talent before this, has
never been so fantastically abstract, utilizing his
scared-yet-angry-but-violent-little-boy persona with a darkness and sweetness
that is simply sublime.