COLUMBIA TRISTAR has released “PUNCH DRUNK LOVE” as part of their “SUPERBIT” lineup.  Fans of Adam Sandler will most likely be disappointed by this offbeat romantic comedy from Director Paul Thomas Anderson.  However, those who “aren’t” fans of Sandler(this reviewer being one) will be pleasantly surprised by his performance as well as the overall film.

While not as depressing as Anderson’s previous films, “PUNCH DRUNK LOVE” is still very dark.  Its main character, Barry Egan, owns a small business, and has a hard time winning approval from any of his seven sisters.  Fate brings him across a sweet, likeable girl, but not before he makes the horrible decision to call a phone-sex number, resulting in an on-going crisis.  Anderson is terrific in creating hypnotic intensity and depth to his characters, and they’re all quite interesting here, even if we don’t necessarily like them.  In fact, that’s the biggest problem the audience has to overcome. Barry is not a likeable guy, and he never really becomes one, making the girl’s interest in him all-the-more curious.

COLUMBIA TRISTAR has preserved the film’s original 2.35:1 aspect ratio, with 16:9 enhancement.  While there is some grain in darker moments, the colors are solid and often vibrant. There’s great detail in virtually every scene.  It’s a well-polished image.  Fleshtones are consistently natural.

Being a Superbit, COLUMBIA TRISTAR has included both a “DTS” and Dolby Digital mix. The DTS (6.1) mix is excellent!  Sure, this is a dialogue-driven film, but as with Anderson’s previous films, the music and directional effects are used effectively throughout the film.  While the Dolby Digital(EX) mix is also impressive, but the DTS has a slight edge over it, specifically due to better bass levels. Dialogue is always intelligible and free from distortion.

This two disc set offers some worthwhile supplements on the 2nd disc.  “BLOSSOMS AND BLOOD” is a lengthy music-video montage sequence, offering stunning images, mostly set to the music of “HERE WE GO.” Clips from the actual film are displayed, however there is no behind-the-scenes footage in this segment.

Two deleted scenes are offered. While letterboxed, they’re not 16:9 enhanced. The image is decent, and the sound quality is fine.  However, the scenes add nothing to the film’s benefit.
There are several trailers offered, as well as some other promotional items, but none of it adds up to much.  Still, the “SUPERBITS” presentation is impressive enough to recommend this as an addition to any dvd collection.