Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Love In The Time Of Mental Retardation.

Punch Drunk Love
2002, USA
P.T. Anderson

I'm glad you don't like this movie. And you don't, because Adam Sandler doesn't make stupid voices, and so you don't get it. He does play a retarded man-child, to be sure, but that's likely because years of marijuana abuse and video game addiction have rendered him cretinous. It's been an interesting progression for Sandler, and by progress I mean stagnant decay, as his lack of growth and movement as an actor and a comedian has led to movies best described as bed sores. Let's chart it, shall we?

Saturday Night Live - Sandler alternates between Cajun Man, Opera Man, and Canteen Boy, skits featuring retarded men-children. All have funny voices. None contain jokes. Sometimes, they rhyme.

Billy Madison - A retarded man-child goes back to school to learn how to walk properly and chew his food without choking.

The Waterboy - A retarded man-child joins a football team, due to his prodigious strength. Somehow, this is meant to be funny, instead of horrifying viewers with the idea of a violent, superhuman Mongoloid.

Little Nicky - A retarded man-child with a stupid voice gets up to no good, because he happens to be the retarded man-child of Satan. A cameo by Ozzy Osborne, intended to be a brief humorous aside, is instead a chilling reminder that imbecility is devoured by the masses in a figurative rather than a literal sense. I'm not saying the retarded should be eaten, because they're probably contagious, but they certainly shouldn't be encouraged with their own reality TV show and massive pop-metal festival tour.

He freely admits to being the Antichrist. Why hasn't someone gone to Megiddo to pick up the daggers?

Alright, so that's less of a chart as it is a line of retards stacked like cordwood, or more specifically, cordwood that needs to be immediately sterilized and institutionalized. Which is why it doesn't surprise me that he was chosen for his role in Punch Drunk Love. Though the film is far more cerebral and artistic than Sandler's usual fare, it's still a romantic comedy about a retard, meaning he's about as comfortable in the role as he would be smearing himself with Jell-O Chocolate Pudding and clapping his hands like a seal.

And what a romantic comedy it is. Director P.T. Anderson mocks and ignores the conventions of the traditional romantic comedy, but keeps the warm, beating heart of the romance intact. Everything you'd expect in a Wedding Singer or When Harry Met Sally is inverted, corrupted, or ignored; quips replaced by awkward silences, quirks replaced by sociopathy. The lighting is deliberately poor, the timing is off, but the romance is still, improbably, there. The point of the film seems to be that love exists outside of the formula prescribed to it by filmic convention. And the point of casting Adam Sandler seems to be that love exists outside of the normal IQ range. Now that's romance.


Blogger Squish said...

Sweet Megiddo reference! I loved this film, as well as thinking it was a nice change for Sandler until you listed off his career. Damn your insignful commentary.

10:39 a.m.  
Blogger Jerk Of All Trades 2.0 said...

A retarded man-child comments on a film review blog written by a retarded man-child while not so secretly wanting to bang a South Afrikan Goddess-whore.

11:08 a.m.  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

I'm not South African. Wait. Am I the whore or the retard? Can't I be both?

6:50 p.m.  
Blogger Lyneth said...

aw, retard jokes are my personal favorite, especially when there not actually jokes. I love this review.

10:24 p.m.  
Anonymous broadzilla said...

You can be both. I'm just here for that green car Jerk was flashing around.

3:24 a.m.  
Blogger batturtle said...

Wait...did you like Punch Drunk Love? Because I don't like having the same opinion as you. Makes me quite uncomfortable. So if you like it, that means I have to change my opinion and now I don't like it. There...that's better.

12:33 a.m.  
Anonymous russell.j.coller.jr said...

Unbelievably, absolutely, bloody-well right. Rage on, brother. I got the DVD a little while back & there is no other actor on earf that can BE Barry. (That's that, mattress man.) 12/19/07...

12:33 p.m.  

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