Punch-Drunk Love (Columbia Classics Vol. 4) UHD Review

4 Stars Not my cup of tea
Punch-Drunk Love Review

P.T. Anderson’s Punch-Drunk Love makes its 4K debut as part of Sony’s Columbia Classics 4K Ultra HD Collection Volume 4.

Punch-Drunk Love (2002)
Released: 01 Nov 2002
Rated: R
Runtime: 95 min
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Cast: Adam Sandler, Emily Watson, Philip Seymour Hoffman
Writer(s): Paul Thomas Anderson
Plot: Socially frustrated Barry Egan calls a phone-sex line to curb his loneliness. Little does he know it will land him in deep trouble and will jeopardize his burgeoning romance with the mysterious Lena.
IMDB rating: 7.3
MetaScore: 78

Disc Information
Studio: Sony
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 2160p HEVC w/HDR
Aspect Ratio: 2.39.1
Audio: Dolby Atmos, English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, Other
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Other
Rating: R
Run Time: 1 Hr. 35 Min.
Package Includes: UHD, Blu-ray, Digital Copy
Case Type: 2-disc UHD keepcase with slipcover
Disc Type: UHD
Region: All
Release Date: 02/13/2024
MSRP: $215.99

The Production: 2.5/5

Barry Egan (Adam Sandler) runs his own bathroom supply business out of a small warehouse in the San Fernando Valley. Barry is a lonely guy, and when we first meet him, he’s on the phone with a customer service representative at Healthy Choice confirming the details of a current promotion that offers free frequent flyer miles in exchange for Healthy Choice proofs of purchase. He is constantly ridiculed and made fun of by his seven sisters, all with families of their own, and at a birthday party, he reaches a boiling point and smashes the patio doors and windows in utter anger. Barry apparently also has control issues. Out of shear loneliness, Barry calls a phone sex line and takes up a lengthy conversation with one of the girls, Georgia (Ashley Clark), that evening. The next morning, Georgia calls back asking for a loan to pay rent. He tells her that he is unable to do so, but that doesn’t stop her, as she begins calling Barry incessantly, harassing him in an effort to extort money from him. Meanwhile, he meets one of his sister’s (Mary Lynn Rajskub, 24) co-workers, Lena (Emily Watson), and falls head over heels for her almost immediately. This love affair becomes the catalyst for Barry to overcome the extortion racket that the owner of the phone sex line, Dean Trumbell (Philip Seymour Hoffman), has been trying to run on Barry.

Both Adam Sandler and writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson have their devoted fans, and many of those fans absolutely adore this absurdist comedy. However, Punch-Drunk Love is just not my cup of tea. I have not found a Paul Thomas Anderson film that I was able to connect with, and Adam Sandler is a major turn off for me as I just don’t find the man funny in most of his films. To be fair, I have actually liked a few of Sandler’s movies and performances over the years, but they are few and far between. So, Punch-Drunk Love had that going against it going in. While I can admit that this is probably one of Sandler’s best performances as an actor, the film as a whole does not contain one likable character, and the story is just not interesting to me.

Video: 5/5

3D Rating: NA

Paul Thomas Anderson is fairly well-known to not like how his movies often look on home video, preferring that the studio use an interpositive release print to scan from rather than the original camera negative. That was the case with his most recent film, Licorice Pizza, and is the case with this 4K release of Punch-Drunk Love. A 35mm interpositive was struck from the camera negative, and that interpositive was then scanned in 4K with additional color correction and cleanup, followed by an HDR color grade. Sony’s 2160p HEVC encode uses both Dolby Vision and HDR10 high dynamic range and retains the film’s intended theatrical aspect ratio of 2.39:1. Colors are bold and vibrant, especially Sandler’s blue suit and Watson’s bright red dress, with no signs of blooming or over saturation. Contrast is strong, featuring deep blacks with impeccable shadow detail. The overall image does reflect some intended softness, but there I still quite a bit of detail that shines through, such as fabric textures and facial features.

Audio: 5/5

Punch-Drunk Love features a new Dolby Atmos mix by default that takes the viewer in and out of Barry’s consciousness as it occurs on screen. The mix is quiet at times, then bursts with sound when appropriate. The front soundstage is wide with nice separation while sounds move fluidly from one speaker to another. Surrounds and heights are implored with atmospheric and other sound effects where needed, while LFE provides a nice low end to the score and the occasional crash. Dialogue is clear and understandable throughout.

Special Features: 3/5

The UHD disc contains no extras, while many carry-over features can be found on the included remastered Blu-ray.

Deleted Scenes (upscaled 1080i; 10:36): Three scenes are included – The Sisters Call, Are You From California? and Mattress Man Commercial. Ported from previous DVD and Blu-ray releases.

Blossoms and Blood (upscaled 1080i; 12:03): A short film featuring Adam Sandler and Emily Watson, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. Ported from previous DVD and Blu-ray releases.

Jon Brion Featurette (1080p; 27:19): The film’s composer explains the process he took for writing the score. Ported from the 2016 Criterion Blu-ray release.

Recording Session (upscaled 1080i; 9:55): Raw behind the scenes footage of recording the score at Abbey Road.

Scopitones (1080p; 6:26): A collection of 12 very brief music videos featuring score played on the scopitone.

Additional Artwork (1080p; 2:41): Non-interactive slide show of photos and other artwork.

Theatrical Trailer (1080p; 2:26)

International Trailer (1080p; 1:02)

Digital Copy: A Movies Anywhere code is included for all six films in the boxed set.

Overall: 4/5

Although currently only available on UHD disc in the Columbia Classics 4K Ultra HD Collection Vol. 4 boxed set, Punch-Drunk Love has never looked or sounded better.

Todd Erwin has been a reviewer at Home Theater Forum since 2008. His love of movies began as a young child, first showing Super 8 movies in his backyard during the summer to friends and neighbors at age 10. He also received his first movie camera that year, a hand-crank Wollensak 8mm with three fixed lenses. In 1980, he graduated to "talkies" with his award-winning short The Ape-Man, followed by the cult favorite The Adventures of Terrific Man two years later. Other films include Myth or Fact: The Talbert Terror and Warren's Revenge (which is currently being restored). In addition to movie reviews, Todd has written many articles for Home Theater Forum centering mostly on streaming as well as an occasional hardware review, is the host of his own video podcast Streaming News & Views on YouTube and is a frequent guest on the Home Theater United podcast.

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JohnRice

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Thanks for the review.

To be honest, I'm not exactly a PT Anderson fan, though I definitely appreciate Magnolia and his Across the Universe video with Fiona Apple is spectacular... and I have seen all of one movie starring Adam Sandler. This one.

Having said that, I think Punch-Drunk Love is fabulous, though I can completely understand not getting into it. I have the Criterion BR, so I think I'm good to go.
 

Mark Mayes

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Not a fan of anything PTA except Boogie Nights, but was curious and found PDL satisfying. Oddly, the 4K played great on my 820 Pan, but when I went to the blu to see special features, it stopped ( no others have so far from the Colombia set.) I took the blu, put it in my Samsung 4k and a long advisory popped up opting me in to data collecting for Sony. I accepted and it plays fine. That option would not get past the 820, for some reason.
 

Todd Erwin

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Not a fan of anything PTA except Boogie Nights, but was curious and found PDL satisfying. Oddly, the 4K played great on my 820 Pan, but when I went to the blu to see special features, it stopped ( no others have so far from the Colombia set.) I took the blu, put it in my Samsung 4k and a long advisory popped up opting me in to data collecting for Sony. I accepted and it plays fine. That option would not get past the 820, for some reason.
I would contact Sony Customer Service to let them know.
 
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