Punch-Drunk Love

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"I have a love in my life. It makes me stronger than anything you can imagine."
Barry Egan
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Punch-Drunk Love (2002) tells the story of Barry Egan (Adam Sandler), an introverted, sweet but socially inept Man Child, whose life revolves around his novelty plunger business (Fun-gers) and attempts to extricate himself from the domineering influence of his seven sisters. His interests mainly include buying up large quantities of pudding to take advantage of their air miles offer, and using phone sex lines to alleviate his loneliness.

Then one day, Lena Leonard (Emily Watson) walks into his life, and everything changes.

Punch-Drunk Love is notable as one of P.T. Anderson's low-key works, made between the epics Magnolia and There Will Be Blood, and for showcasing the dramatic chops of Adam Sandler while simultaneously being a warped Post Modern take on the Romantic Comedy and Adam Sandler movies in general.

Tropes used in Punch-Drunk Love include:
  • Angrish: "SHUT UP! SHUT THE FUCK UP! Shut up, will you SHUTUP SHUTUP! SHUT SHUT SHUT SHUT SHUTUP... SHUTUP! NOW *Beat* Are you threatening me, dick?"
  • Anticlimax: Barry is frantically [and painfully] running from the Four Blonde Brothers when they drive past him and casually remind Barry that "they know where he lives". Barry stops running after this. They show up later and crash his car. Barry gets out and smashes their truck with a crowbar, flies to meet their boss, and gets him to back down. In the words of the Matress Man, "That's that."
  • Berserk Button: Barry.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Lena has to take the initiative. A lot.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Most of Mattress Man Dean's dialogue when he's not shooting ads.
  • Competition Coupon Madness: The pudding-for-air-miles thing. Surprisingly, it's based on an actual incident -- see the "Real Life" section of that page for details.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: See The Power of Love below.
  • Deconstruction: The movie takes the typical Billy Madison/Happy Gilmore-style Adam Sandler character and almost brutally deconstructs him, showing the real-life consequences of his behavior, and how dangerous such a person would feel to you if you actually met one.
  • Determinator: "I'd say, 'That's that, Mattress Man.'"
  • Dream Melody: The five note descending melody which pops up repeatedly on the soundtrack is actually played by Barry on the harmonium at one point.
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: Part of why Lena seems so besotted with Barry is that he's so helpless. Lampshaded by the soundtrack with the song "He Needs Me".
  • Homage: The soundtrack contains the song "He Needs Me" from Robert Altman's Popeye film. Also, the supermarket where Barry shops bears a remarkable similarity to the supermarket photographed by Andreas Gursky in his picture 99 Cent.
  • Hypocritical Humor: The Mattress Man and his gang consistently call Barry a "pervert". You know, for calling a phone sex line that THEY OPERATE.
    • It seems to be a trap for blackmailing people out of money. It seems they feel justified in their actions due to their victims being pervs.
  • Iris Out: A particularly sweet example, as the Iris centers on Barry and Lena's hands clasped together and actually follows it as they disappear around a corner.
  • The Klutz: Barry's not only clumsy, but accidents also seem to happen just by virtue of his presence.
  • Leitmotif: Barry and the harmonium.
  • Open-Heart Dentistry:
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Barry: I wanted to ask you something because you're a doctor. I don't like myself sometimes. Can you help me?
Walter: Barry— I'm a dentist.

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