Paul Thomas Anderson’s third film and his shortest by some mark is Punch Drunk Love, a fantastically extrovert romantic comedy which combines shades of Coen-esque humour and dare I say Lynch-ian motifs of magical realism and dual personality. The film is unlike any romantic comedy I’ve seen before and personally I prefer it to the likes of There Will be Blood and The Master for which the Director is better known.
Although the plot is often a bit thin and sometimes incidental it concerns a lonely and occasionally awkward man called Barry (Adam Sandler) who owns a small business that sells novelty toilet plungers. Barry has the misfortune of having seven sisters, a situation which emasculates him and causes him no end of hassle and grief. One day while at work Barry witnesses a horrific car accident and suddenly ends up with a harmonium. That same day he also meets a pretty girl called Lena (Emily Watson). Sometime later, while lonely, Barry calls a premium rate sex line, a move which brings about a lot more pain and hassle than even seven sisters can muster.