Worth A Look: 17.22%
Pretty Bad: 12.58%
Total Crap: 30.46%
10 reviews, 91 user ratings
by Scott Weinberg
The final proof that Hollywood will sink to any depths. This is a joyless, lifeless, pathetic and ugly movie. The assumption here is that if they pretend to care about sick people, then it's OK to point at and pity cancer patients and the emotionally disturbed. A staggeringly predictable and moronic story with really nothing to recommend it, unless you're a fan of amateurish, sloppy and manipulative filmmaking. Robin Williams should truly be ashamed.Patch Adams is so unquestionably bad in every respect, that I want to weep. It also made over like $120 million or something, which poses an interesting question: Why do so many brain-dead and awful movies explode like this? Easy answer: People are MORONS! People like to have their emotions tweaked in an artificial fashion. They like the same lame jokes repeated by the same actor in the same movie. Come on, if there's ONE authentic scene in this pile of crap, please enlighten me as to what lump of smelly artifice it was hiding under.
"Vile Rotten Poison with a Cotton Candy Exterior"
OK, so what makes Patch Adams so much worse than any other "unbelievably lame Hollywood movie in which there is no real effort displayed by anyone" movie? Where to start? Try the beginning when we meet Hunter Adams, who commits himself to a loony bin. STOP! OK, are ever we told WHY he's so sad and disturbed? Are we told ANYTHING about him? No, but he sures likes staring off and looking bemused. (Get used to it. He does it the whole movie.)
Hunter realizes that he can help cure manic and mentally ill patients simply by playing along with their delusions. (Silly mental patients.) Of course we get to meet a "loony" bunch of inmates that is so stereotyped and sad, I can't believe it was made in this day and age. OK, get this--The first doctor we meet....is COLD and ABRASIVE. Hunter also meets some Yoda-type guy in the asylum who explains that if he can just stare at his hand until everything gets blurry, he'll be sane. (I swear I'm not making this up.)
So Hunter starts calling himself Patch and joins medical school because he loves people. The terribly evil dean hates his methods and he also meets a nerdy gang of students to hang with. (Hey, I just saved you like a half-hour right there.) Problems arise when the dean says "Hey, Patch, I don't like you coming in to my hospital and making my cancer patients giggle. You have to wait until your THIRD year until you can come in to the hosptial and stop mugging for the camera!"
There is not ONE scene in this movie that doesn't possess the following things:
1. Robin Williams with a crooked smile and big wide eyes and a bunch of talent being so wasted you want to hit him in the face with a rock.
2. Horrible and schmaltz-heavy piano music. God forbid people try to find their own emotion in a movie. Much better for us to have these 'emotional cues' so we know when we should be sobbing.
3. Just the most trite, formulaic, predictable, inane and familiar dialogue I've heard in a while: Stuff like
"People have names, not numbers"
"Are you ever serious? giggle"
"I've loved you since I first time I met you"
"I like to prostitute cancerous children to further a pathetic movie career."
This movie is just so desperate to connect on any level, it's like a barrage of constant grief:
Boom--Cancer kids?--That one didn't get you?
Boom--Mental retardation?--Still not weepy?
Boom---The tacked-on 'Forced and pathetic deathbed' scene?
OK, Still holding out? Well, we could be here all day, since we're also treated to:
The 'Shocking Death of an Attractive Person' Scene
The 'Standing Up in the Face of Authority' Scene
The 'Huge Pathetic Grandstand in a Courtroom Scene, but wait, there's no Trial in this Movie but who Cares?' Scene
The 'Everyone Clapping while the big idiot looks on wistfully' Scene.
It's all familiar and it's ALL here, and there's some unique spins on OLD pathetic scenes also:
The 'Wow, look at all the Balloons in Here!' party Scene
The 'Crying pathetically and Pounding on a Coffin' Scene
and my personal favorite:
The 'lets all put on our Red Enema Noses to show support for the Misunderstood Moron' Scene.
Originality is not this movies' strong suit, I guess is what I'm saying.
Individual scenes of depravity that Robin Williams jumps right into with a big grin are all that keeps Patch Adams moving. You wonder how much more pathetic can it get. I'm still having horrible flashbacks:
Robin Williams in a pool full of NOODLES with some dying old lady? Huh?
Robin Williams flailing his arms and buzzing like a bee while cancer-ridden children giggle and lose their teeth, and then he puts a bedpan on his HEAD and wears them as SHOES also? HUH?
Robin Williams startling a near-dead man awake and throwing fifty balloon animals in his face? What the HELL is going on here? (P.S. This scene makes absolutely no sense, since the scenes where we could have learned about this patient were obviously edited out. Just another sign of respect from your filmmakers.)
Never before have I seen a movie sink to such horrible methods just to evoke some emotion. Their thinking must have been "Hey, how can anyone trash a movie where we make little tiny cancer kids giggle? THINK, people!"
Actually, there are a few scenes (OK, one) when another character (Patch's pompous roommate) tells him exactly why he is so annoying and pathetic. I was cheering the roommate's every line, and I knew the screenwriter would close the scene with Robin muttering some muttered insult, thereby getting the last word, then leave the room. I was exactly right about how this scene ended, and I threw my DVD remote across the room.
Pandering, simpering, ugly, mawkish, uncomfortable, unfunny and a vile affront to any intelligent moviegoer. Forced, fake, false and transparent, it tries to address medical problems by sugarcoating them in the worst possible Hollywood fashion. An obvious hack job, yet it still struck a chord with the masses, and for this I simply ask "Why?"A true embarrasment and Robin Williams needs to learn to stop with these condescending and falsely-life affirming movies. He has now become the textbook example of what a sellout is. Want proof of how false and sad this movie actually is? Try showing it to some kids who have actually suffered through cancer treatment and see if they think Patch Adams' medical techniques are "wacky" or "funny".
link directly to this review at https://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=556&reviewer=128
originally posted: 10/25/99 15:18:27