It is said that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree but when it comes to having comedic chops, and in particular with Beattie Edmondson, that adage couldn’t be further from reality. Edmondson may be the daughter of Jennifer Saunders (ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS) and comedian, actor, writer, musician, television presenter and director, Ade Edmondson but her performance in the film, PATRICK, indicates that if there is such a thing as a comedy gene, she doesn’t have it.
In PATRICK, Edmondson stars as Sarah Francis, a late-twenty-something year-old rookie high school teacher living in leafy England. Just when Sarah gets dumped by her live-in boyfriend, her rich and eccentric granny dies leaving her with the old woman’s spoiled pug named Patrick. Not surprisingly, Sarah’s life gets turned upside down by the dog as she tries to balance being a responsible pet owner with her new job and living in a building that doesn’t allow pets. But klutzy Sarah endures, meeting both a handsome veterinarian (Ed Skrein, DEADPOOL; THE TRANSPORTER REFUELED) and a loveable but equally nameless fellow dog owner played by Tom Bennett. Set against the backdrop of a 5K fun run for charity, Sarah presses on against all odds, determined to succeed at both life and love.
PATRICK is a perfect example of lazy screenwriting and incompetent direction. Here, the blame falls on writer-director Mandie Fletcher (ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS: THE MOVIE), although she did have help in the writing department from two colleagues who don’t have much experience in that area. Sarah is like a sexless Bridget Jones while Skrein and Bennett are her co-neutered Daniel Cleaver and Mark Darcy, respectively. Unlike Renée Zellweger, Edmondson has no comedic timing whatsoever and it’s truly painful to watch her mug her way through this mess. In one scene where she’s running with Patrick on a trail and she stumbles into the brush, it’s done so ineptly that we almost wish she’d just stay there for the rest of the movie. Run away, Patrick! You can do so much better than her! Perhaps PATRICK is meant for 7-year-olds but, if so, Fletcher et al have severely underestimated the intelligence of that demographic. To add to the viewing discomfort, Jennifer Saunders also appears in the film as a home ec teacher who is always bringing some homemade treats into the school for the other teachers to nosh on during their break. Like her also nameless character, Saunders comes across as desperate to please. The only thing that could make this film any worse is if Patrick could talk, even in voiceover.
PATRICK is one of the worst movies to come out this year. Watching flies settle on a steaming pile of dog poo would be a better use of your time.
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