Doctor Giggles

Robin Williams' Patch Adams is an undoubted misfire

Patch Adams doesn't allow Patch's antagonists anything like such a good-faith argument. Anyone who doesn't approve of Patch must be an egomaniac or a control freak. The main villain, a nasty dean played by Bob Gunton--who resembles an ambulatory nicotine stain--is so clumsily trumped-up to represent the hero's opposite that he might be called the anti-Patch.

Though the cast consists of a bunch of topnotch actors--Daniel London, Josef Sommer, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Irma P. Hall, Peter Coyote, Harold Gould, Richard Kiley, Harve Presnell, Douglas Roberts, Harry Groener, and Frances Lee McCain--they're called upon to be little more than straight men (and women) to Williams. Only Michael Jeter, as Patch's roomie in the mental hospital sequence, has the kind of over-the-top exuberance to hold his own alongside the star. Williams' leading lady here, playing a beautiful but humorless med student whose heart Patch is determined to melt, is Monica Potter. What Skeet Ulrich is to Johnny Depp, Potter is to Julia Roberts.

Patch Adams
Directed by Tom Shadyac; with Robin Williams and Monica Potter.

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