Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB. USA, 2002. New Line Cinema, Revolution Studios, Ghoulardi Film Company. Screenplay by Paul Thomas Anderson. Cinematography by Robert Elswit. Produced by Paul Thomas Anderson, Daniel Lupi, JoAnne Sellar. Music by Jon Brion. Production Design by William Arnold. Costume Design by Mark Bridges. Film Editing by Leslie Jones. Cannes Film Festival 2002. Golden Globe Awards 2002. Toronto International Film Festival 2002.
Adam Sandler plays a self-employed California businessman whose quiet life goes ballistic in three different ways: firstly, he becomes obsessed with a product promotion involving a points-based giveaway that he has calculated will allow him a huge prize for less than the amount of money needed to spend on buying the products required. Secondly, a lonely night spent talking to a phone sex operator turns into a dangerous situation when she turns out to be a stalker who intends on taking him for every penny he’s got to give. Lastly, and most important of all, love finds him in the form of adorable Emily Watson, and his discovery of his romantic side gives him a new strength to deal with his other challenges, including his seven overbearing sisters, in a way that he never knew of before. Impeccably written, shot, scored and performed, Anderson’s powerfully affecting film does something incredible for its audience: it captures a genuine sense of frustration, but thanks to his unerring sense of humanity does not indulge in bitterness. Instead, he goes the route of bittersweet and creates one of the most unusual and independent romances of the last ten years.