If you’re not dog mad then there is absolutely nothing for you here. If you are then you’ll ‘aw’ and ‘ooh’ yourself silly at ‘Patrick’, a very gentle, quite adorable little film that essentially boils down to the story of a pug helping a sad teacher compete in a fun run.
Beattie Edmondson (daughter of Jennifer Saunders and Adrian Edmondson) plays Sarah, whose life is, she thinks, not going well. Her boyfriend has left, her parents think her work as a comprehensive teacher makes her a failure and she’s starting to think they might be right. She also somehow lives in a huge flat in Richmond on her teacher’s salary, which withers your sympathy somewhat. Sarah’s misery is made worse when her late grandma bequeaths her Patrick, a very badly behaved pug. Sarah hates dogs, but perhaps Patrick can change all that…
The dog, or in fact dogs, who play Patrick are, frankly, Bafta-worthy. He’s a character that packs the charisma of a much larger beast into his tiny, wrinkly body. Credit for that, of course, should really go to director Mandie Fletcher (‘Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie’, ‘Blackadder’), who’s made a selection of well-trained tricks look like a performance. Patrick’s presence serves as a boost to every joke in the script, making them all just a little funnier because his presence is so delightful. He’s surrounded by a cast of excellent comic actors – Jennifer Saunders, Tom Bennett, Adrian Scarborough, Gemma Jones – but they’re all mere support. The pooch is the star.