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Punch-Drunk Love (2002)


Average Rating: 7.4/10
Reviews Counted: 184
Fresh: 145
Rotten: 39

Critics Consensus: Odd, touching, and unique, Punch-Drunk Love is also delightfully funny, utilizing Adam Sandler's comic persona to explore the life of a lonely guy who finds love.

Average Rating: 7.3/10
Reviews Counted: 39
Fresh: 31
Rotten: 8

Critics Consensus: Odd, touching, and unique, Punch-Drunk Love is also delightfully funny, utilizing Adam Sandler's comic persona to explore the life of a lonely guy who finds love.


Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 137,529


Movie Info

A dark comedy centering around Barry Egan, the socially impaired owner of a small business-distributing novelty toilet plungers-in the San Fernando Valley. Dominated by seven sisters, and constantly negotiating his own manhood, he is unlikely to find romance unless romance finds him. In an attempt to resolve his loneliness, while having a vulnerable moment, Barry contacts a phone sex operator who, in turn threatens him with blackmail. Connected to a larger business network, the operator sends … More

R (for strong language including a scene of sexual dialogue)
Drama , Romance , Comedy
Directed By:
Written By:
Paul Thomas Anderson
In Theaters:
Jun 24, 2003
Box Office:
Columbia Pictures - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Punch-Drunk Love

All Critics (192) | Top Critics (40) | Fresh (145) | Rotten (39) | DVD (44)

It's a romantic comedy on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

Full Review… | November 1, 2007
Top Critic

The film looks good and has its funny moments, but too often one senses Anderson straining to impress...

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

It is quite a vision.

Full Review… | November 2, 2002
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic

The journey toward redemption feels more like a cinematic experiment than a full-blown movie.

October 26, 2002
Denver Rocky Mountain News
Top Critic

Despite its title, Punch-Drunk Love is never heavy-handed. The jabs it employs are short, carefully placed and dead-center.

Full Review… | October 25, 2002
USA Today
Top Critic

Easily one of the best and most exciting movies of the year.

October 25, 2002
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

Anderson knows precisely how to convey his ideas, but the ideas themselves often feel slight once delivered.

Full Review… | February 26, 2012
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

Odd romantic journey for adults and older teens.

Full Review… | December 28, 2010
Common Sense Media

While certainly sweet, Love is more compelling as a veiled threat, with Anderson jerking the audience around, wielding abrasive characters and hostile situations in a manner I've come to adore.

Full Review… | December 28, 2009

One of the best and most poignant films of 2002...

Full Review… | April 29, 2009
Cinema Crazed

Shots, such as when Sandler and Watson kiss in silhouette, are truly memorable -- but Punch-Drunk Love is never more than this: a series of chocolate-box moments, PT-style.

Full Review… | May 28, 2008

...Punch-Drunk Love is (and always will be) the crowning achievement within Anderson's filmography.

Full Review… | January 3, 2008
Reel Film Reviews

It's clear by now that whatever characterization skill Anderson showed in his lean, mean debut, 1997's Hard Eight, was a fluke.

Full Review… | September 22, 2007

A trifle at 89 minutes with a genuine, heartfelt performance by Mr. Sandler, and not much else.

Full Review… | July 14, 2007
Big Picture Big Sound

Watson is simply radiant with her goofy and beautiful smile, while Sandler's psychotic nice-guy schtick makes for some really great moments.

Full Review… | June 21, 2007
Film Scouts

Paul Thomas Anderson used Sandler for a very specific purpose -to convey a sense of tough-luck awkwardness and smile-masking-frown frustration, and it worked perfectly.

Full Review… | January 4, 2006

Anderson is simply punch-drunk on the possibilities of cinema, and sophisticated film lovers will be more than willing to go wherever he goes -- yes, even to an Adam Sandler movie.

Full Review… | December 6, 2005

What really makes this movie so special, apart from the revelation that Adam Sandler can act, is the direction.

Full Review… | September 30, 2005
Three Movie Buffs

Punch-drunk Love reminds me of why I go to movies in the first place. To be challenged, surprised, transported, inspired, and exhilarated.

January 15, 2005
Looking Closer

The elements of tragedy aren't life and death issues in this movie, and Anderson's film wisely contains itself to the microcosm of this one man's beleaguered existence.

Full Review… | February 1, 2004

[I]t's no secret that... certain films [are] critic's darlings... leav[ing] moviegoers vowing never to trust a critic again. This season [it's] Punch-Drunk Love.

Full Review… | January 1, 2004

Unlike any romantic comedy this year, with a vision so wondrously off-kilter that you'll be swept off your feet by it, even if you don't fall in love at first sight.

December 1, 2003
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)

No cumple con todas las expectativas, pero sigue siendo uno de los directores más originales y talentosos que el cine norteamericano tiene para ofrecer.

Full Review… | November 23, 2003
Uruguay Total

Gimmicks in search for a heart and a soul.

Full Review… | October 15, 2003

Audience Reviews for Punch-Drunk Love

Adam Sandler shows, much to our utmost surprise, that he can act when he wants and that he was a perfect choice for this Anderson's take on a romantic comedy, a sweet, darkly humorous and amazingly well-directed film that is miles above most of the romcoms that Hollywood produces.

Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


Sublime and surreal, this is quite a film from Paul Thomas Anderson. It is a smaller film from him, but one that is still as impressive as his others.

The plot follows a shy sad sack prone to occasionally violent outbursts who begins dating a woman as equally shy and awkward as him. He's got seven sisters who hate and mock him, and he's got four goons after him looking for money after he gets extorted following a phone call he made to a phone sex line.

The film is weird, as it is a surreal romantic dramedy, but like Brazil, despite that there are dark undertones (more subtle here than in Brazil) there is a quirky, uplifting feeling and charm as well...which I really enjoyed. Whimsical is the perfect way to describe this film. The acting is superb-leave it at that. No, I'm not kidding. This is Sandler's best.

This film above all, is just wonderful to look at, and another reason for why it's so charming and great. It is a bit rough around the edges, and kinda bizarre, but it's really hard not to like, which is sad since it's still pretty underrated, but I really hope that changes.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

A visually interesting and unconventional love story about a very awkward character coming into his own. I've tried, but I just don't think P.T. Anderson is my kind of film-maker - I recognize why the work he's doing is good, but I don't enjoy it all that much. Of course, all Anderson acolytes tell me that you have to watch his movies a few times before you really see how much he's doing, and how well. I'm open to revising my opinion someday... in the meantime, Sandler surprises here, and there is some wacky intrigue, but overall it comes of like the Coen brothers with an MFA. Not terrible, just not my cup of tea.

Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer

It takes place in The Big Lebowski universe of logic. And I adore it.

Kevin Cookman
Kevin Cookman

Super Reviewer

Punch-Drunk Love Quotes

Barry Egan:
I laugh. I laugh and laugh, even when I'm alone.
– Submitted by Jacob M (7 months ago)
Lena Leonard:
So here we go.
– Submitted by Kia M (8 months ago)
Barry Egan:
I didn't ask for a shrink, that must've been somebody else. Also, that pudding isn't mine. Also, I'm wearing this suit today because I had a very important meeting this morning, and I don't have a crying problem.
– Submitted by Kia M (8 months ago)
Lena Leonard:
People are just crazy in this world, I think.
– Submitted by Kia M (8 months ago)
Barry Egan:
You can go to places in the world with pudding. That's funny.
– Submitted by Kia M (8 months ago)
Lena Leonard:
Oh, I'm sorry. Was that like, a secret pudding?
– Submitted by Kia M (8 months ago)

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