Review – ‘Patrick’ is an awful romcom coasting on pug charm

Poster for 2018 British romcom Patrick

Genre: Comedy
Certificate: PG
UK Release Date: 29th June 2018
Runtime: 94 minutes
Director: Mandie Fletcher
Writer: Mandie Fletcher, Vanessa Davies, Paul de Vos
Starring: Beattie Edmondson, Ed Skrein, Tom Bennett, Emily Atack, Jennifer Saunders, Adrian Scarborough, Peter Davison
Synopsis: A newly single woman inherits her grandmother’s pampered pug just as she prepares to start a new teaching job, and the dog quickly causes a tonne of trouble for her.

 

 

It’s fair to say that pugs are massively popular in the UK today. Loads of celebs own them and there were more than 10,000 registered in the UK in 2016 – three times the number registered in 2007. With that in mind, it was probably only a matter of time before the squishy-faced canines were given the opportunity to lead a movie. Step forward Patrick, which is a very creaky British comedy film, serving as a star vehicle for Beattie Edmondson – daughter of Ade Edmondson and Jennifer Saunders – as well as the adorable dog that gives the film its title.

That dog is bequeathed to Sarah (Edmondson) by her grandmother, immediately before she is due to start a new teaching job at a secondary school and immediately after her boyfriend has left her. She is going to be out all day and her lease doesn’t allow dogs, which would be enough of an issue were it not for the fact that prim senior teacher Peters (Adrian Scarborough) takes a dislike to her from day one. However, the presence of the dog brings her into the orbit of a handsome vet (Ed Skrein) and a kindly dog walker (Tom Bennett), both of whom show a romantic interest in her.

There’s a certain amount of ramshackle British charm to Patrick, even as it goes through the motions as a cutesy romcom focused around an even cutesier animal. It’s like a slightly shonky school play, where there’s plenty to enjoy, even though no one is showcasing any comic timing and the set looks like it might fall over at any moment. That charm is bolstered by the regular appearances of British comedy stalwarts, including the aforementioned Saunders, Meera Syal and Emily Atack from The Inbetweeners, in minor roles to add a grin or two in lieu of any actual funny material.

When it comes to the actual story, though, it all falls down. Edmondson’s performance is wildly committed and nobody could accuse her of giving any less than her all, but she’s simply given nothing to chew on from a character perspective. The romantic plot, too, is under-baked and it’s signposted from almost the first moment which man is ‘the right one’ and which is a scumbag. Ed Skrein and Tom Bennett, both very capable performers, are given nothing to do, which is especially sad for Bennett, who was so terrific at stealing the comedy spotlight in Love & Friendship.

And that’s the problem with Patrick. It lacks any sort of reason for being other than as an excuse to do slapstick gags involving the central pug, all the while evoking a strange middle class world in which being a secondary school head of department is a career failure. This is a movie so charmingly British that “I fear there’s going to be a letter” is about as fraught as the tension gets. Unfortunately, that’s also as funny as the comedy gets.

 

Pop or Poop?

Rating: Poop!

Patrick comes within a whisker of getting by on the basis of its not inconsiderable Brit charm and, of course, its pug. However, the comedy is always slightly off-key and the performers are unable to ever make the most of the admittedly meagre material on offer. The result is a rather strange confection that never seems to have a grasp on its own identity.

 

Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.

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