Buena Vista International (a Walt Disney Pictures Label)
Reviewed for Shockya.com by: Harvey Karten
Director: Mandie Fletcher
Screenwriter: Mandie Fletcher, Paul de Vos, Beattie Edmondson, Ed Skrein, Tom Bennett
Cast: Beattie Edmondson, Ed Skrein, Gemma Jones, Jennifer Saunders, Tom Bennett
Screened at: Critics’ link, NYC, 12/24/18
Opens: February 15, 2018
Patrick would be a fitting name for a Wolfhound, a Setter, a breed of terrier perhaps, but the Patrick in this movie, a Pug, would more appropriately bear a name like Zhang, or Wang, or Li. Maybe this one eschewed a Chinese name because no emperor would want such a neurotic animal on his lap. Contrary to what people may think, this alleged lap dog is a mischievous, neurotic little dog who might stay on your lap for a half minute or so but who has the energy of a Jack Russell terrier as he scratches on doors while jumping, runs away and is considered lost, and trashes a house when its reluctant owner is busy teaching equally mischievous high-school kids.
Filmed by Chris Goodger in Chiswick, London—also the setting for other movies like “Never Let Me Go”–the west London location thirty minutes from the city center by tube is a lovely spot, a favorite of tourists, local joggers, boat lovers, and quaint little fairs you can picture hosting community pot luck suppers.
The family-friendly movie is as bland as the pastoral atmosphere, featuring an over-the-top performance by Sarah Francis (Beattie Edmondson) as an English teacher who feels guilty about leaving the pug she inherits from her granny home alone. She sneaks the flat-nosed canine into the school to the dismay of her conventional headmaster. Her boyfriend has left her because he needs “space,” and Sarah unwittingly finds that the dog has attracted two joggers in the park—one a narcissistic veterinarian and the other the dutiful son of his disabled father. She makes friends with the other female teachers in her school, which is filled with boys and girls sporting the school colors in their uniforms.
“Patrick” is as bland as you might expect for a movie created for the small fry whose moms will escort them to the picture, which understandably plays up to the kiddies with poop, pratfalls and potential paramours but lacks the heart and soul of other doggie fare like “Hachi,” “Marley and Me,” “Benji,” and the greatest of them all, Fred M. Wilcox’s 1943 “Lassie Come Home.”
94 minutes. © 2019 by Harvey Karten, Member, New York Film Critics Online
Story – C+
Acting – C
Technical – B-
Overall – C+