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Movie Review: Punch Drunk Love

Story: Looking for something different? Inspired? Outrageous? Then run to your local cinema to catch director-writer Paul Thomas Anderson's (Boogie Nights, Hard Eight, Magnolia) offbeat fourth film. In an homage to movies of the 40's, Anderson treats us to a contemporary hero with all of the angst that you would expect from someone who is socially backward, battles fits of pent up rage and has been harangued by his seven sisters his whole life.

From the opening scene to the last shot I was kept on my toes and entertained. Our hero has a small business that produces novelty items such, as plungers. He finally meets a girl and trouble ensues as he desperately tries to straighten out his life. I won't reveal much of the plot. I do not want to be a 'spoiler. This is a fine film and you should not miss it. It is ultimately about hope and the power of love.

Acting: I admit to being one of those cine-snobs (I think I just made up that word) who dislikes Adam Sandler without ever having actually seen one of his films. The previews of his films were enough for me to stay far, far away. However, PT Anderson wrote this film with Sandler specifically in mind for the leading role. And, magically, it works. Man-child Sandler is perfect for this part as the socially maladjusted, rage induced hero. The most talented, Emily Watson is as always, fabulous as the love interest. She is so good that we, the audience, believes that if she can love this doofus... so can we. Philip Seymour Hoffman, a staple in Anderson's films does a great job with his cameo role appearance. Luis Guzman is great as always and Mary Lynn Rajskub, as one of Sandler's seven sisters is perfect. Several of the actors were not professional and that only adds another wonderfully quirky touch.

Critters: None

Food: Pudding

Blatant Product Placement: American Airlines and Healthy Choice food products have huge, hilarious parts.

Soundtrack: Inspired. I particularly loved the song by Shelley Duval, He Needs Me from Popeye (one of my all time favorite films - really)!

Opening Titles: None. All titles are at the end. However, there are wonderful blasts of color that saturate the screen at many intervals.

Theater Audience: Crowded for a mid afternoon showing. A mixed age group. This film has an R rating so many of Sandler's usual 12 year old audience will be locked out - if anyone bothers to check ID's.

Quirky Meter: 9

Predictability Level: Very, very low.

Oscar Worthy: Yes

Nit Picking: No nits to pick.

Big Screen or Rental: Big screen, for sure. For some fabulous Emily Watson rentals, how about: The Luzhin Defence, Gosford Park, Cradle Will Rock, Angela's Ashes, Hilary And Jackie, The Boxer, and the most wonderful, Breaking the Waves.

Length: 90 minutes.

LOBO HOWLS: 9 ( FYI - my sister accompanied - and would have only given it a '4' - Go figure? )