SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 12: Adam Sandler attends the 25th Annual Critics' Choice Awards at Barker Hangar on January 12, 2020 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Critics Choice Association)
TV - Movies
One Adam
Sandler Comedy
Stands Above The
Rest, And It's Not
Even Close
Anyone who has seen "Uncut Gems" knows that Adam Sandler is a pretty good dramatic actor when he wants to be, and he has also turned in affecting performances in comedies like “Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected).” However, his performance in Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2002 rom-com “Punch Drunk Love” stands above the rest.
Sandler's Barry Egan may look and act like your average Adam Sandler protagonist, to the point that he owns a novelty plunger business and has lofty plans that center around pudding. However, the genius of the film is that its hero is an Adam Sandler character ... who's stuck in a Paul Thomas Anderson movie.
As Roger Ebert pointed out, the end result is so jarring that it can actually make you like Sandler's goofier comedies more. “In voice and mannerisms he is the same childlike, love-starved Adam Sandler we've seen in a series of dim comedies, but this film, by seeing him in a new light, encourages us to look again at those films,” Ebert said.
"Punch-Drunk Love" came out in the middle of the actor's lengthy stretch of nigh-uninterrupted, critically lambasted goofiness. This is why many moviegoers were not ready for how wildly entertaining Sandler manages to make the sad and angry Barry Egan, further exemplifying how good he can be when he feels like it.