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PRINT November 2002

film

Paul Thomas Anderson

“GEEK LOVE” WOULD BE the perfect title for Paul Thomas Anderson’s new film, were it not already taken by Katherine Dunn’s 1989 carny novel. Instead, the young writer-director settled for Punch-Drunk Love to describe his “$25 million Adam Sandler art-house movie,” a conscious attempt to rein in his epic, ensemble-cast instincts and have a puckish go at the moribund romantic-comedy genre. Punch-Drunk’s high/low high jinks are immediately apparent, pairing Hollywood’s lowbrow cash cow Sandler with Lars von Trier alumna Emily Watson and mingling a nonprofessional supporting cast with the artiest mise-en-scène of Anderson’s career, including abstract digital animation sequences by New York–based artist Jeremy Blake.

Anderson’s previous films—the downbeat gambling noir Hard Eight (1996), the protean Goodfellas-for-the-jizz-biz Boogie Nights (1997), and the sprawling LA AA meeting Magnolia (

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