PUNCH DRUNK LOVE
movie trailer (apple.com - quicktime)
NOTE: This spoiler was sent in by taller94 who says..."The movie was good, a bit quirky, and not quite up to the usual Paul Thomas Anderson flair, but overall, I enjoyed it. However, fans of Adam Sandler's other movies will be in for a real surprise (and inevitable disappointment)."
The film opens (with no credits) to the corner of a warehouse where Barry Egan (Adam Sandler) is on the phone with a Healthy Choice representative. He is going over a promotional offer that Healthy Choice is giving in accordance with American Airlines. The deal states that if someone purchases ten Healthy Choice products, they will receive 500 airline miles. Barry is just trying to clarify the rules before participating. He hangs up when the conversation ends, grabs his mug of coffee, and goes outside. It's obviously very early in the morning (probably about 5 a.m.) and he looks out into the street. Suddenly, a car wrecks, flips a few times, and skids down the road (a very startling scene, I might add). After this, a taxi pulls up in front of Barry, and, for no apparent reason, drops off a harmomium, then takes off. Barry just stares at the harmonium, then goes back inside.
Suddenly, a car pulls up, and a girl gets out. She is Lena (Emily Watson), who came to drop off her vehicle at the autoshop next door. The shop is not open, so Lena asks Barry if he will make sure her car is looked at by the mechanics. Barry agrees, and Lena leaves. Barry then decides to take the harmonium inside to his office.
Now, the day begins. The warehouse where Barry works is a company that makes unbreakable toilet plungers and other accessories, and Barry actually owns the company. He is trying to deal with a customer, but keeps being interrupted by phone calls from his sisters. When the customer asks how many sisters Barry has, he replies that he has seven. Each of the sisters call to make sure that Barry is attending a party that night, to which Barry nervously agress to attend.
Later that day, one of Barry's sisters, Elizabeth, drops by and tells Barry that she wants to bring a friend from work over to the party. She thinks that the friend and Barry would hit it off. Barry is not too sure about the idea, so Elizabeth berates him for being a coward.
That night, Barry goes to the party. It's actually a birthday party for one of his sisters, and all of their husbands and children are present as well. Upon entering the house, the sisters remind Barry of when they used to call him "gay boy" when he was younger. Elizabeth tells Barry he is off the hook, since her friend could not attend.
Barry is obviously uncomfortable in the surroundings, and as the sisters and their families all sit down for dinner, Barry suddenly has a violent attack and kicks out some windows. The sisters yell at him, calling him a psycho. Barry then talks with one of the husbands, a dentist, and explains that he has these violent attacks and sudden bouts of depression that follow. Then, Barry starts to sob, and asks the dentist for the number of a good shrink.
The following evening, Barry is sitting alone in his apartment, going over his Healthy Choice strategy, and comes across a phone sex ad. He calls the number, and wants to speak with someone. Before he can do so, he has to give out his credit card information, street address, phone number, and even social security number (although it is "confidential"). When Barry asks if this will show up on his credit card statement, the representative says that it will show up as "D&D Mattress" (important later). Finally, Barry is able to talk with a girl, who calls herself Georgia. She says she is from Los Angeles, and asks Barry if he has a girlfriend, to which Barry answers yes. The girl wants to talk dirty, but Barry does not want the conversation to be sexual at all (he actually just wants to talk with someone). The next morning, before heading to work, Barry gets a phone call. It's Georgia, the phone sex girl, who asks if Barry can help her out with some money. Barry apologizes, and says that he can't do that. Suddenly, Georgia berates him for being a pervert, and Barry hangs up.
Barry heads to work, and, in a very frantic scene, is pestered by almost everyone. Elizabeth arrives with the "friend" Barry was supposed to meet at the party, who turns out to be Lena. Barry's co-workers keep knocking large crates over, causing a huge distraction. On top of that, Georgia keeps calling. She apparently has found Barry's work number, and begins to blackmail him. She even threatens to tell Barry's girlfriend, until Barry reveals that he doesn't even have one. In the midst of all this, Barry keeps blowing off Elizabeth and Lena, and they finally decide to leave. Elizabeth apologizes to her friend, claiming that her brother is weird. Before Lena leaves, however, she walks straight up to Barry and asks him if he would care to join her for dinner the following evening. Barry agrees, and suddenly lights up inside.
Cut to Provo, Utah. A mattress warehouse called "D&D Mattress" is the actual site of the phone sex operation. The girl Georgia talks to her boss Dean Trumbell (Philip Seymour Hoffman, in a wonderful role), and explains that Barry will not cooperate in giving them money. Dean decides to send Georgia's brothers out to Los Angeles and deal with the matter.
Back in L.A., Lena and Barry's dinner is going just fine, as Barry explains his Healthy Choice plan to Lena. Since the company is handing out 500 airline miles for ten purchases, Barry realizes this is a marketing error. So, he decides to milk it for all it's worth. He finally sees that Healthy Choice pudding comes in packs of four for $.99. However, each pudding packet has an individual barcode, so each pudding is one purchase. Therefore, if Barry buys about $3,000 worth of Healthy Choice pudding, he is able to earn about 1 million airline miles. He only brings this up because Lena mentioned earlier that she's planning on going to Hawaii in the coming week. Later on in the dinner, Lena asks Barry about his sisters, and says that Elizabeth warned her that Barry was weird. This obviously upsets Barry, who excuses himself to the bathroom. When he enters the bathroom, Barry proceeds to trash it in a violent rage. He goes back to Lena at their table, but is asked by the manager to leave the restaurant after he found the bathroom. Barry drives Lena home, and drops her off at her apartment. There is an awkward moment, but Barry does not act on it. As he is leaving the building, the supervisor tells Barry that he has a phonecall. It's Lena, who tells Barry that she wanted him to kiss her. Barry rushes back to Lena's apartment, and, just as soon as she opens the door, Barry kisses her. They are in love.
Barry is feeling on top of the world, until he gets home and is ambushed by the "brothers." They kidnap him, and force him to withdraw $500 from an ATM. They explain since he was a pervert, this is his punishment. Barry is confused by this and tries to explain himself, but is attacked by one of the brothers. As he lies on the ground, Barry sees that the license plate is from Utah (important later). As the "brothers" try to rough him up some more, Barry screams and runs away in fear, crying like a little girl. As he flees, the "brothers" drive up beside him and explain that they know where he lives.
The next day, Barry is in yet another frantic mode. With the help of his partner Lance (Luiz Guzman), he goes to the local grocery store and buys all the pudding he can. With his winnings, Barry decides to go to Hawaii and see Lena. However, when he calls Healthy Choice, they explain that the process takes six to eight weeks. Barry then decides to board a plane to Hawaii.
When he arrives, he tries to track down Lena. He calls Elizabeth to ask where Lena is staying. As Elizabeth begins to berate him, Barry comes back and yells at her. This sudden burst of confidence surprises Elizabeth, as well as the audience. Barry finally tracks Lena down, and the two embrace. They have dinner that night, then go back to Lena's room, where they make love. Before they leave, however, Barry calls back Georgia and explains that she will not be able to extort anymore money from him. Georgia explains that he started a war for himself that he can't possibly win.
The next day, the two fly home together, and as Barry is pulling his car into his garage, the two are attacked by the "brothers," who slam into Barry's car with their truck. This causes a minor wreck. Barry asks Lena is she is alright. She says yes, but when Barry sees a small trail of blood coming from a wound on Lena's forehead, he goes berserk. Barry gets out of the car, as do the "brothers." One of the "brothers" has a tireiron. Before he can use it though, Barry smahses his face with his fists, picks up the tireiron and proceeds to beat the living crap out of the rest of the "brothers," as well as their truck windows.
Barry then takes Lena to the hospital, where doctors look at her wound. Lena is alright, but Barry is very shaken by this. He has finally found a purpose in his life, and it is being threatened. Barry leaves Lena at the hospital, and goes back to the office. He calls back Georgia, and, with glorious anger and confidence, demands to talk with her supervisor. Barry is finally connected to Dean, who tells Barry to shut up and calm down. Barry counters by threatening Dean, who replies that Barry is a dead man. However, Barry isn't waiting around. He calls the operator and asks to be connected to "somewhere in Utah," to a place called "D&D Mattress."
After this, Barry goes back to the hospital, but Lena has already been discharged. Barry realizes his mistake, but decides to put an end to his troubles with Dean. He flies to Provo, and storms into "D&D". He confronts Dean and Georgia, and tells them that everything is over, that he has a love in his life that makes him stronger than anything Dean can imagine. Dean tries to act tough, but realizes that Barry is indeed the stronger of the two. Dean agrees that everything is over, and Barry leaves. Just as he makes it out the door, Dean calls Barry a pervert. Barry gets pissed and starts to threaten Dean again, but Dean, obviously a coward, just replies that it's over.
Barry then returns to L.A., where he apologizes to Lena about leaving her at the hospital, and explains everything that happened. He tells her about the phone sex scenario, and explains that he had to make sure that they would never hurt her again, and that he bought all the pudding so that he could fly with Lena to wherever she had to go, because he does not want to be apart from her ever again.
This finally wins Lena over, and she kisses Barry.
The final scene has Barry playing his harmonium at his warehouse, while Lena listens.
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