Metascore
78

Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 37
  2. Negative: 2 out of 37
  1. With its feverish, percussive soundtrack and bravura cinematography, is like a bolt from the blue, chock-full of unexpected delight.
  2. 100
    Anderson orchestrates a comic romance like no other. The effect is intoxicating. Sandler and the movie will knock you for a loop.
  3. 100
    Through this miasma of pain and suffering, love may not flicker more strongly than a dim lamp. But it's the only beacon to consider. Can Barry find his? Thanks to Anderson's assured picture, a symphony of cinematic textures, that disarmingly simple question becomes incredibly compelling.
  4. 91
    Anderson delivers a satisfyingly quirky, cinematically masterful valentine that contains more seeds of truth about the human heart than a hundred big fat Greek comedies.
  5. 90
    Something we haven't seen before: a manic-depressive romantic comedy that aspires to the soul of a musical. It's a new-fashioned love song.
  6. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    90
    I found it exquisite. In part I responded out of sheer amazement: I've never seen anything like the sequences in which Sandler, in his boxy, sea-blue suit, charges around his warehouse to the rhythm of Brion's harsh drums.
  7. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    90
    Entirely unpredictable and marked by audacious strokes of directorial bravado.
  8. 88
    The film is exhilarating to watch because Sandler, liberated from the constraints of formula, reveals unexpected depths as an actor.
  9. An Adam Sandler movie with class, and if that sounds like an oxymoron, so be it. The movie is a happy nightmare of silly-smart movie comedy that defies category - and challenges expectations involving Sandler and his pictures.
  10. 88
    It's a small victory, but Punch-Drunk Love knows how to reap epic delight from the most precious of details.
  11. Whether Adam Sandler can actually act is not actually answered in Paul Thomas Anderson's Punch-Drunk Love. But he's great in it.
  12. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    88
    Despite its title, Punch-Drunk Love is never heavy-handed. The jabs it employs are short, carefully placed and dead-center.
  13. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    88
    It's a honey of a performance: controlled, achingly human, and funny in the deepest ways.
  14. No film this year has offered quite the cerebral tickle, weird invention and slaphappy gusto.
  15. Deeply rich and strange new romantic comedy.
  16. Reviewed by: Darrin Keene
    80
    It works because of Anderson's ability to challenge viewer expectations. Instead of making his principal actors change, he manipulates the story and dialogue to match their characters. His exquisite art-house camera shots and sense of pacing set Sandler up to do his usual thing in an almost poetic manner.
  17. A startling achievement, but its lack of psychological dimension prevents it from making much human contact with us. It ends where it begins: in a state of shock.
  18. Reviewed by: John Powers
    80
    The movie winds up being his sunniest, for Anderson takes care to keep their love sweet, daffy and punch-drunk. This is a film in which that modern obsession, frequent-flier mileage, becomes proof of fidelity, and true intimacy is portrayed by a man telling his lover, "I'm sorry I beat up the bathroom."
  19. 80
    It's funny, too, though marked by an uneasy humor that's usually difficult to achieve. Anderson handles it with expert ease: At this point in his career, he moves the camera like a skilled dance partner, investing the smallest gesture with significance.
  20. Anderson and Sandler were meant for each other, and their romance is, unbelievably, our reward.
  21. Charming and outlandish by turns, this misfit love story of disconnected people trying to find one another in an antagonistic world is a comedy of discomfort and rage that turns unexpectedly sweet and pure.
  22. Poetry is perhaps the best way to think about Mr. Anderson's suave, exuberant balance of free-form inspiration and formal control.
  23. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    80
    Punch-Drunk Love is one dark, strange-tasting sorbet, its sweetness shot through with startling, unexpected flavors. It’s a romantic comedy on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
  24. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    80
    There is something arresting about it too. The damned thing keeps gnawing at your mind -- if only for its almost perfect lack of conventional sentiment. Or movieness.
  25. Difficult too, and certainly problematic, but it's sometimes quite wonderful. Do see it if you're curious about one-of-a-kind films, and if you care about the ever-evolving career of one of our most gifted filmmakers.
  26. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    80
    The outlandish story and exaggerated colors ... swirl together to create an ethereal, sometimes sinister dreamscape.
  27. One of the most inventive offerings so far this season.
  28. Reviewed by: Carla Meyer
    75
    Sweet-natured, meticulously observed love story.
  29. 75
    Quirky and stylish, but not in a manner that comes across as overly artsy or pretentious.
  30. 75
    The result is a treat for Sandler fans and a revelation for those of us who've spent the last decade wondering what on earth his appeal is.
  31. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    70
    The strangest thing about writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson's unusual romantic comedy is how much of it is based on a true story.
  32. 67
    Unconventional and idiosyncratic love story.
  33. Sandler and Watson make something out of their underwritten roles, and that they do is testament to their talents: They make this punchy romantic comedy more engaging than it should be.
  34. 50
    As elegantly crafted as it often is, Anderson's movie is essentially a one-trick pony that, hampered by an undeveloped script, ultimately pulls up lame.
  35. I wouldn't have minded even the Hollywood schlock lurking behind the studied weirdness if I'd believed in any of the characters on any level.
  36. Punch-Drunk Love buries a terrific performance by Adam Sandler under a heap of faux cleverness, meaningless symbolism and irritating mannerisms.
  37. 25
    Essentially a weird series of nonsequiturs. I'd rather be watching a sequel to the much-maligned "Little Nicky" -- a Sandler film that was at least trying to do something interesting -- than this failed experiment in fusing high and low culture.
User Score
6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 226 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 71 out of 118
  2. Negative: 41 out of 118
  1. Jun 19, 2013
    9
    After watching this movie I thought to myself what is Adam Sandler doing. This guy can really act granted Paul Thomas Anderson is brilliant, but Sandler gives an outstanding performance. I connected in so many ways with Barry and that's a credit to Sandler. I so hope one day after he is done making the likes of Jack and Jill and Grown Ups 2, he might get another shot at making something meaningful. Full Review »
  2. Apr 6, 2014
    4
    This was just not for me. I enjoy Paul Thomas Anderson's films and his direction here was great as expected. I also really enjoyed Adam Sandler in this film, he really embodies this entirely psychologically off character and his final confrontation with Philip Seymour Hoffman (who was also great here) was both funny and intense. The added element of the pudding, with it being something from real life was also very interesting. However, my main problem here was it was just too quirky and weird for me. I somewhat enjoyed the pudding thing, but it really added a lot to this problem. The awkwardness and quirkiness in every scene was overbearing at times and really sapped any enjoyment this one could have provided for me, to the point where it felt like nails on a chalkboard. It was awkwardness overload. Full Review »
  3. Mar 5, 2014
    8
    It's queer, on the borderline of hipster. But what really makes this film noticeable is how Adam Sandler actually displays some raw talent, both comical and dramatic. The whole script has this creativity to it, that makes both question and enjoy the film. Again, loved the Philip Seymour Hoffman scenes. If only Sandler could do more of this kind of cinema. Full Review »