Director: Mandie Fletcher
Starring: Beattie Edmondson, Ed Skrien, Tom Bennett, Emily Atack, Jennifer Saunders, Gemma Jones, Adrian Scarborough, Peter Davidson, Cherie Lunghi, Bernard Cribbins
Written by: Mandie Fletcher, Vanessa Davies and Paul de Vos
Running Time: 94 mins
Release date: 29th June 2018
British cinema has managed, in the past, to produce some delightful comedies, whether from the pen of Richard Curtis or those feel-good movies like The Full Monty, Pride and Made in Dagenham. This is a film that came with its own warning: from the director of Absolutely Fabulous – The Movie. Anyone who goes into Patrick expecting another film in the same vein as those mentioned will be massively disappointed and yet coming from the same director as that turkey from a few years ago, you know not to expect comedy gold. For this is as creaky as a door hinge waiting to be oiled.
Sarah has been recently dumped, she’s starting a new job as an English teacher in a secondary school and she lives in a rented apartment which has a strict no pets policy. Then her eccentric aunt passes away and leaves her with Patrick, a destructive, misbehaving pug. With a naughty dog, Sarah does find herself becoming the attention of two men.
This is one of those films where there are no surprises and everything that is set up will be resolved within the 90 minutes running time. It’s the kind of film that people will go in and come out smiling because the pug was cute, forgetting that the shot of a large-eyed creature a movie doesn’t make. What we get are incredibly lazy stereotypes: Sarah’s parents live in the kind of house only royalty would own while she lives in a flat that there is no way you could afford unless mummy and daddy were paying for it.
Then there’s Sarah, the kind of young woman who you would question if she’d ever be able to survive the real world alone. This clumsy, awkward girl falls over at the tip of a hat, struggles with the English language and yet is teaching Jane Eyre to a group of “naughty” school kids (the kind of kids that only ever exist in movies) while she is hated by an aging teacher and befriends a sports coach who constantly tries to persuade her to run a 5k race (guess who ends up doing it).
The film fails in virtually all departments. It lacks any form of subtleness when it comes to the humour. A mix of obvious slapstick and excessive mugging at the camera, to the awkwardness of the dialogue and, in one particular scene, a revamp of a YouTube video that went viral years ago. Director Fletcher thinks that by hammering home gags, they will be funny. They are not. I’m also not sure who this film is actually aimed at. It’s being advertised as family fun with the pug, yet it plays more like a romantic comedy with a dog making occasional appearances.
The cast, made up of actors who really should know better, don’t help matters. We get the likes of seasoned veterans like Gemma Jones, Cherie Lunghi, Peter Davidson and Bernard Cribbins coming on and playing everything like they’ve just returned from pantomime. Ed Skrien as the vet who falls for Sarah’s charms looks out of place and sometimes embarrassed after all those hard men roles he’s had in the past while Tom Bennett as the other man in Sarah’s life, is wasted as the nice guy role. He proved himself a terrific comic actor in Love & Relationships, yet here he is given little to do.
The film rests on the shoulders of Beattie Edmondson, daughter of Adrian Edmonson and Jennifer Saunders and while I am sure she has comic talent, very little is shown here. Pulling a variety of faces to suit the occasion is not comedy gold and she never once shows any real subtlety, most notably the comedy run for the 5k race. As for the dog, well, it’s a dog. What else do you want from me?
Patrick does have one merit going for it. It’s better than Show Dogs but only just. This is a real dog’s dinner. Never knowing what it wants to be, it becomes a crashing bore that doesn’t even raise a smile, let alone a laugh. I knew it would be a turkey when that announcement of “From the director of Absolutely Fabulous” appeared on the ads. I was not wrong.