A young teacher named Sarah Francis (Beattie Edmondson) is trying and failing to get her life in order. Unlucky in romance and the black sheep of the family, her luck seems to be turning when she gets a job teaching English. However, everything turns upside down when her grandmother passes away and bequeaths her a pug named Patrick. Patrick is spoilt rotten and completely untrained, which is the last thing Sarah needs right now, but things start looking up when Patrick attracts two potential suitors for Sarah.
It’s easy to imagine how ‘Patrick’ came into being. It was a boardroom meeting and everyone, including the manager, was feeling unmotivated. However, they had to get an idea for a new movie to the guys upstairs so everyone could go home. “Ok, let’s go for family-friendly, because then you’ve a guaranteed audience. And live-action, because animation is effort.” “People love dogs, how about a dog movie?” “Great. So, what kind of dog?” *someone does a quick Goggle search* “It’s all about pugs at the moment.” “Ok, live-action, centred around a pug. What else?” “It comes into the possession of an unlikely owner.” “Great, give me more.” “Who is self-centred, immature and doesn’t like dogs.” “Good, keep going.” “But she ends up falling for the dog and then he brings everything together for her, including her love life.” “Brilliant, perfect. We have our movie, people.”
From Beattie Edmondson’s over-the-top central performance to the formulaic script and slapstick sense of humour, nothing about ‘Patrick’ indicates nuance or effort. It’s lazy and catered for an audience of children that doesn’t know and doesn’t care that it is watching a dumb, bland movie. When it comes to the two potential love interests, they even had the ridiculously good-lucking one turn out to be a jerk while the more modest looking but still attractive one turns out to be a kind-hearted, single dad who cares for his elderly father. Who could have seen that coming…
In Patrick himself (who, by the way, is probably the best actor in the film) they cast the perfect pug – petite with the pudgiest of pug faces and a curled-up tail that looks as if it was produced by curling tongs. However an adorable dog is not enough, in spite of what movie execs would like you to believe, to base an entire movie around.
Here’s an idea. Why not spend the entire 94 minutes you would spend watching ‘Patrick’ with an actual dog instead?