Derek Winnert

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This article was written on 03 Feb 2014, and is filled under Reviews.

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Punch-Drunk Love ****½ (2002, Adam Sandler, Emily Watson, Philip Seymour Hoffman) – Classic Movie Review 797

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Adam Sandler is on dazzling form as Barry Egan, a businessman with seven sisters and a rage problem. Blackmailed after contacting a sex line, he falls for cute Lena Leonard (Emily Watson).

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This bold, dark-toned romantic comedy drama is weird, wacky and totally wonderful. Writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson is on extraordinary form here in 2002, delivering several astonishing highlight scenes that stack up to make this rank as a masterpiece.

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And Sandler is redeemed forever, triumphing in a very difficult role. Sandler is even forgiven for Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore, though not for I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry. An unexpectedly cast Watson makes an excellent foil for him.

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And in essential star support, Philip Seymour Hoffman polishes up his usual sleazy screen persona as Dean Trumbell.

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Punch-Drunk Love is more magical celluloid from the director of Hard Eight, Boogie Nights, Magnolia, There Will Be Blood and The Master.

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Philip Seymour Hoffman acted in all of them, except There Will Be Blood. Tragically, he died on February 2 2014, aged 46, from an apparent drug overdose in his New York City apartment. Awarded a Best Actor Oscar for the 2005 film Capote, he checked into rehab in May 2013 for heroin use.

© Derek Winnert 2014 Classic Film Review 797 derekwinnert.com

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