punch2I loved Magnolia and Boogie Nights, but unfortunately lightening has not struck a third time for director Paul Thomas Anderson. Punch Drunk Love I think, was an attempt by Anderson to pare down the epic length movies he is known for and make something simpler and more linear. He has accomplished that, cutting the running time down to one and a half hours from his usual three, but in doing that has sacrificed character development. I was hoping this would be Adam Sandler’s entry to adult roles, and while he is almost there, he displays no ability to grow and develop into a believable character. His Barry Egan is a distributor of novelty items (like plungers with dice on them for use in Casinos), with a severe anger management problem. He falls in love with Lena (Emily Watson) while at the same time becoming involved in a phone-sex extortion scam. Not a bad premise, but when the main character is hard to identify with it makes it difficult for the viewer to feel sympathy or any connection to them. Sandler stretches his usual teen-movie shtick a little bit, but not enough to satisfy. I’m not sure whether this is a mediocre Paul Thomas Anderson film, or a really great Adam Sandler movie.