'Patrick' - Review - Chris At The Pictures

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

'Patrick' - Review

★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Even by the usual standards of pet-centred pictures, this film of asinine canine antics is one for the pound. Beattie Edmonson is put-upon English teacher Sarah, whose grandmother passes away and leaves the irritable singleton her prized pug, Patrick. Before long, the poop-happy pooch is wrecking her flat, embarrassing her in front of the neighbours and thwarting all attempts for Sarah to be rid of him. The most unbelievable part of an extortionately convoluted plot is that, in the age of sickly viral videos and entire social media campaigns dedicated to them, a pug would be impossible to sell (I’ll bet that somewhere on the cutting room floor lies a scene in which Patrick gets his own Instagram).

And it is a frankly labyrinthine tangle of a story for a (supposedly) cutesy kids movie. Sarah must face a possible eviction, carjacking pupils (who, of course, all look about 25), a rotten family, a fun run, nasty rival teachers, and two possible suitors. They arrive in the form of the frankly awful Ed Skrien and Tom Bennett, both almost unrecognisable beneath pained expressions that exude less “Kiss me” and more “Kill me”. Everyone - Edmonson included - looks like they wish they were somewhere else, while Jennifer Saunders looks like she should be somewhere else, staggering in from the sidelines every now and again to offer everyone cake when she should be offering them criminal compensation.

Patrick, meanwhile, wanders about causing every manner of upset, all carried off with the comic timing of a particularly bad episode of The Chuckle Brothers and the editing skills of a toddler. Impressively, for a film in which the dopey dog single-handedly demolishes Sarah’s apartment, none of his messes ever quite outshine the script itself: a screenplay relying on coincidences so eye-rolling they’d have you throwing up if the dialogue didn’t already. Too tortuous for tots and too cloying for parents, it makes 90 minutes feel like 90 millenia.

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