PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE (DVD)

2 Stars
Year Released: 2002
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 95 minutes
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Some might say that the most disappointing thing to come out of the movie “Punch-Drunk Love” is the fact that Adam Sandler didn’t win any major awards. Untrue! While Sandler’s performance was a restrained, somewhat off-type character that was thoroughly enjoyable in a very creepy way, the most disappointing thing to come out of this film is the DVD.
Sold as a two-disc set, you might expect there to be a bevy of extras spilling out at the seams. However, these two discs hold a scant few incentives to buy instead of rent from your local Blockbuster or Hollywood video. Unless there is one honkin’ big Easter Egg buried somewhere on the discs, it is the leanest line-up I’ve ever seen on a double set.
The film itself is an excellent movie – not as good as P.T. Anderson’s masterpiece Boogie Nights, but a decent follow up to Magnolia. Of course, winning the Best Director prize at the Cannes Film Festival should tell you that it’s worth seeing. While Anderson takes an artsier tone with the structure and pacing of “Punch-Drunk Love,” it holds the same smarmy charm that I found enthralling in his previous two films.
The first strike against the DVD is the absence of a commentary. In fact, the first disc has nothing to offer but the 95-minute movie. All the extras (which include only two deleted scenes, three trailers, production art, a fake commercial for the Mattress Man, a 12-minute “Blossoms & Blood” featurette and twelve Scopitones) are laid out on the second disc, and I don’t see why it all couldn’t fit on one. This DVD was mastered in high definition, which could be why so little takes up two discs. However, I don’t consider this a valid excuse for me or anyone else who doesn’t have a high definition television.
The “Blossoms & Blood” featurette contains some interesting alternate takes and deleted scenes, but it is spliced in with regular scenes and the music video. While the featurette itself is interesting, after watching the movie, it’s annoying to wade through the existing material just to get to the new footage.
The twelve Scopitones aren’t even Scopitones in the traditional sense, unless they were specifically designed to be played on an old Scopitone machine (which was developed by the French to show 3-minute sexy music videos). Instead, these pieces are random imagery from Jeremy Blake’s artwork with clips and sounds from the film. This DVD disguises random experimental film clips as catchy pieces of nostalgia.
Sure, Columbia/Tristar may be planning on releasing an extra-special edition DVD later as New Line did with the “Boogie Nights” film. However, with the lack-luster performance at the box office and forgettable accolades for Sandler, this seems unlikely. When New Line releases multiple editions of The Lord of the Rings, at least they jam-packed their first DVDs with documentaries and behind the scenes extras in exchange for the lack of filmmaker commentaries.
Bottom line: Great movie, but to be rented instead of bought (even previously viewed).

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Posted on August 21, 2003 in Reviews by
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