Patch Adams (***) - Seeing the previews for this movie - one is pretty much expecting Awakenings meets Dead Poets Society - and thatís pretty much what one gets. But what I didnít expect was how truly funny the film is and how much better the comedy works than the actual drama.Whatever shortcomings the film has belongs mainly to the by-the-numbers screenplay by Steve Odenkirk (whose previous credits include Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls and Nothing to Lose). The outline of this film youíve seen many times before - the outsider who has more common sense and decency than the establishment he works in, the way he recruits others to his way of thinking, heís reprimanded and warned but continues to do things in his way, heís finally let go, and then must appeal in a courtroom like setting to get out the final message of the film. Thatís pretty routine stuff. But Robin Williams elevates the material with his good heart and great humor. He makes you see past the conventional material and makes you laugh while not pondering too hard on the not-completely original central message of his character. The opening 20 minutes really bring you into the film, starting off like One Flew Over the Cuckooís Nest with some good writing, sharp humor, and poignant drama. The drama in the film seems a little too forced in some spots and could have used some more early development. But every time the film lapses into a less-than plausible dramatic tone, the humor comes back and lifts the film. There is even one visual gag in the film that is so funny, youíll miss almost all of the sceneís dialogue by Williams. It ranks with the other two best visual gags of the year - both from Thereís Something About Mary. However - as much as you laugh at this visual - youíll find yourself asking - how was he able to do that without anybody noticing?This is a film with big aspirations. It wants to be a lot of things and it succeeds completely as a comedy and a star vehicle for Williams. I also appreciated certain elements of the love story, but moments of the human drama seems underwritten, and you can see those screenwriter wheels turning as the story sometimes unevenly flows from one scene into the next - but Iím still recommending the film as a comedy with an interesting main character that still deserved some better writing to become the true tearjerker that it wanted to be.