Film

Indie Fantasy Patch Town Is Almost Fascinatingly Bad

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It’s one thing for a fantasy film to make no sense, but Patch Town’s problem is that its premise isn’t just unintelligible — it’s downright dumb.

Based on his short film, director Craig Goodwill’s feature concerns a magical factory (ostensibly located, in secret, on the outskirts of mainstream society?) where a wicked businessman (Julian Richings) has assembly-line workers remove babies from cabbages and then use a machine to turn those babies into children’s dolls, which he sells to little girls. When those toys are eventually abandoned by their all-grown-up owners, they return to this factory to work as reanimated people.

That situation doesn’t sit well with portly, mop-topped Jon (Rob Ramsay), who with his wife (Stephanie Pitsiladis) in tow, and with the help of a wisecracking Indian bus driver (Suresh John), surreptitiously travels to the real world to find his former owner (Zoie Palmer), to whom he refers as his “mother.”

As inane as that setup might sound, it’s nothing compared to the story’s execution. Director Goodwill employs a fanciful style that recalls Jean-Pierre Jeunet minus the flair, whimsy, or originality, all while eliciting performances from his cast that range from barely amusing to excruciatingly cartoonish. And if that weren’t painful enough, these grating characters frequently burst into songs that are not only ill-fitting, but also — as with every other aspect of this indie — awful.