Patrick | Review

★★★

If you love pugs, you will adore Patrick. It’s as simple as that.

Absolutely Fabulous director Mandie Fletcher plays her hand fast with this uplifting tale of a doggy bonding. Blue skies and a breezy score make for undemanding fun in a film beyond the real world. Only nice people live here and only lovely things happen; even the rotters come around in the end. Sure, Patrick is totally out of touch but no one’s even trying for realism here.

Beattie Edmondson is Sarah – full name: Sarah Jessica Rosemary Francis – a law school dropout turned teacher and bit of a trainwreck. Well, so long as you take no notice of her gloriously spacious, unbelievably pricey London flat and plush new job as a year eleven English teacher. What does she do when year eleven aren’t doing English, you ask? She preps for a 5k fun run – that she didn’t actually want to do – with new friend Becky (Emily Atack) and picks up beaus in the park, where she’s having to walk the other new arrival in her life: Patrick the pug.

The horribly spoilt bequest of her dotty Granny, Patrick arrives in Sarah’s life with neither warning nor welcome: ‘He eats everything except the food I put down for him!’ It’s not hard to see where their relationship’s going – if you miss the fine details, the soundtrack is heavy on exposition – but the journey is endearing enough to lure all but the hard nosed in. At the end of the day, an ability to make audiences cry with delight at the sight of a pug’s giant eyes and squished face (my girlfriend sobbed) is the film’s sole raison d’être. If Patrick weren’t cute, what would it be? Not all that much.

Simply put, Patrick is ‘Bridget Jones’s Pug’ right down to Sarah’s dressing gown and two flawed love interests. Whereas Edmondson is the more likeable heroine, Zellweger’s are the strong films. Also as in Bridget Jones, a very British ensemble surround the lead, with Adrian Scarborough and – Edmondson’s real-life Mum – Jennifer Saunders standing out among the crowd. The latter, particularly, delivers the film’s best gag. There are nods too in the direction of 101 Dalmatians and the viral Fenton video of 2011.

You’ll know if this is your sort of film or not from its premise, never mind the trailer. If it is, repeat viewings will ensue without a doubt.

T.S.

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