Disney’s Patrick is littered with comedy genius: Jennifer Saunders, Adrian Scarborough, Meera Syal – not to mention the eponymous pug himself. It is surprising, then, that the comedy takes so long to get off the ground. The film opens in the middle of an argument; Sarah and her boyfriend do not see eye to eye – yet the disharmony feels somewhat staged and over-performed. Cut to Patrick, Sarah’s grandmother’s pug who seems to be living a far more luxurious life: prime cuts of meat, a gilded throne, face lovingly shampooed by the help. The protagonist’s family are rather well-to-do, which perhaps would account for the fact that once her bespectacled boyfriend utters the immortal words, “I’ve met someone”, she continues to live rather comfortably in a furnished Richmond flat on a teacher’s salary.
Realism, continuity and nuanced characterisation aside, once Sarah and Patrick’s lives collide hilarity does ensue. This is Bridget Jones’s Diary meets Turner and Hooch, and you don’t have to be a dog person to appreciate Patrick’s performance. If only the same could be said for Beattie Edmonson’s Sarah. Though in her role as teacher to the young people living somewhat less privileged lives she does manage to add some depth, this is a rather familiar character. She is convincing as a hapless yet kind-hearted singleton, and despite the questionably choreographed slapstick, the actress has a talent for physical comedy. The movie has echoes of yet another modern day Pride and Prejudice, with not one but two love interests, and the action is motored along in no small part by some great supporting performances from Gemma Jones and Tom Bennett.
In short, while the dialogue is sometimes stilted and the plot is predictable, once it gets going Patrick is entertaining. Is it better than Bridget? No. Will it make you laugh? Yes. And if you are a dog person, it may even make you all warm and fuzzy inside too.
Patrick is released nationwide on 29th June 2018.
Watch the trailer for Patrick here: