Patrick is a delight… for three specific audiences only. Are you a lover of pugs? Is British real estate your porn? Are you a child? Good, you’re going to love this rom-com. But for the rest of us…
The pug is obviously the star of the show here – the movie is named after him – and no review is fair or complete without recognizing his star quality. Patrick is delicious, charming, a good actor and his eyes don’t look like they are about to burst. I’m not a crazed dog-lover but even my lukewarm heart went up many degrees when he was on screen. And he’s up there emoting and scampering a LOT. So, that’s group one satisfied.
Patrick appeals to three audiences
The second star of the show, providing the only images that could possibly distract from that puggish punim, is the London real estate. These locations – the flats, the mansions, the river-side pubs (filmed in Kensington, Richmond, Kingston-upon-Thames, etc) – are lush. They create an imaginary village of Londonshire where interiors are huge and the sun always shines. When you think about it, it creates a barrier between the audience and our human protagonist, Sarah (oh yeah, there’s a girl in this movie, too). Who lives in places like this?
And that leads us to potential fanbase three: children and the incredibly naive. It would take a child to look at this carefree, plot-free movie and find a moment of reality, drama or tension. Based on the real estate alone, Sarah comes from a family wealthy enough to make her life a breeze. Her struggles as a Bridget Jones-esque young adult don’t resonate at all. She’s the family blacksheep, somehow?The only stakes in Patrick come from watching Sarah struggle to complete a 5K. After months of training, the knee-buckling, wheezing and levels of sweat that come from poor Sarah will make the kiddoes smile, but to any alert adult suggest an undiagnosed heart problem.
Star Edmondson deserves better
Beattie Edmondson plays this Sarah, whom we meet moping around her impossibly gorgeous flat after her impossibly flaccid live-in boyfriend walks out in minute one. At the same time across town, in a building where 3-bedroom flats start at about 6.5 million (yes, I am obsessed with the property here), Sarah’s granny dies. Scattered Sarah doesn’t seem too affected by this death and in fact can’t even make the funeral on time, and as a fitting punishment from the forward-thinking Grandmother, finds she has inherited the pug. Punishment for the dog, I mean. Why take beloved, hand-fed Patrick from the lap of luxury to the hellscape of living with a jobless, loveless, clueless granddaughter? Methinks a lesson will be learned. Left on the cutting-room floor is who gets their paws on Granny’s top-end flat… sorry, I’ll stop now.
You’ll be not at all surprised to hear, Patrick turns Sarah’s life upside down. Well, if you’ve ever owned a dog, upside down is an exaggeration. Her eviction after Patrick’s shenanigans has no sting at all, troubles at her new job are solved instantly and in fact she even brings the dog to school, a magical place where surly teens turn sweet and everyone loves her except the comedically evil head master. Whoops, did I say comedically? That implies funny.
Patrick is cute but should be funnier
Edmondson knows from comedy – is the daughter of legends Jennifer Saunders and Adrian Edmondson – and aside from her incessant grimacing, is an appealing presence. Edmondson has done some good television (Josh), and you can imagine her in a better romcom, playing a more everywoman character, who rom’s with more interesting men. See, Patrick has one trick up his furry sleeve – he is a man magnet. Sarah literally walks into supposed-to-be-knee-melting vet Oliver (Deadpool’s Ed Skrein) and nicely bland Ben (Tom Bennett). Seems the dog wants to make sure he remains the star of the show, so attracts no human with more charisma than he.
Patrick is directed and co-written by Mandie Fletcher (Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie) who really should know better. Unless, unless my theory is correct, and this movie is meant to appeal to only easily-amused, dog-loving children who think London is a fairy-tale village full of giant ivy-covered houses and sun-dappled rivers. If you are one, or just melt at the site of a scrunchy little pug face, you’ll love Patrick.
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A former ABC National, Dallas and Atlanta radio personality, Martina O'Boyle is now making movies and covering culture in London, Dublin, and as far in Europe as the cheapie flights will take her, for Pop Culture Beast.