Subtle and more than a little offbeat, this is the kind of movie the Farrellys might make if they (a) made intelligent films and (b) weren't obsessed with gross-out humour. The comedy here is just as outrageous, catching us completely off guard and sending us into spasms of laughter. But instead of coming from the toilet, it's all based on the unexpected and absurd ... and it appeals to our brains just as much as our guts. The film is also deceptively simple, weaving its various strands into a singular narrative and revealing the characters through their actions, not what they say. This draws us in completely, and makes the film thoroughly engaging and entertaining, even though it violates most of Hollywood's well-worn rules about movie rom-coms. Sandler is very good in a role that requires a lot more oomph than his usual vehicle, although he never really gets beneath Barry's nervy exterior. Watson and Hoffman are always good, and they take their characters in very intriguing directions here. And Anderson's direction is colourful and kinetic, never giving away too much and keeping us utterly spellbound by the inexplicable way Barry's mind works!
dir-scr Paul Thomas Anderson|
with Adam Sandler, Emily Watson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Luis Guzman, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Lisa Spector, Julie Hermelin, Karen Hermelin, Hazel Mailloux, Nicole Gelbard, Mia Weinberg, Rico Bueno
release US 11.Oct.02; UK 7.Feb.03
How does his mind work. Lena wonders about Barry (Watson and Sandler)...
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