I have never been a fan of Adam Sandler. Even back in his Saturday Night Live days, I thought most of his recurring sketch characters were one-joke ponies which grew tiresome after their first appearance. His early movie choices, with a few notable exceptions, served only to give “low-brow” a bad name. His characters were uniformly infantile child-men with explosive tempers and retarded social skills. (That, however, hasn’t stopped Billy Madison from actually being referenced in recent court decision.)
The real genius of Punch Drunk Love is how writer and director Paul Thomas Anderson took that stock Sandler character, injected some real depth into it and then wove a surreal but heartfelt story around this person.