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YMMV: Patch Adams
  • Critical Dissonance: There appears to be an incredible amount of hate directed towards this movie (featuring only a 23% on Rotten Tomatoes), but it was a financial success. Since Williams' tragic death in 2014, the film is often mentioned among many common moviegoers' favorite roles for him, as well.
  • Critical Research Failure: During his Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter moment, Patch tells Truman that man is the only animal who kills its own kind. The praying mantisnote , black widow spidernote , betta fish, chimpanzee, dolphin, lion, rabbit, and the vast majority of the animal kingdom would all like a word with you, Mr. Adams. As pointed out in the Ape Shall Never Kill Ape page, humans are really just the only animal that can kill its own kind and actually feel bad about it.
  • Designated Hero: Besides acting like a general Jerkass to his schoolmates in an attempt to make them laugh, Patch also does several extremely ethically questionable actions, like stealing drugs from a hospital and practicing without a license. He still gets treated as in the right, even when it ends up killing two people, and the only people who call him out for his actions are treated as humorless villains. Needless to say, the real-life Hunter Adams did no such thing.
  • Designated Villain: As pointed out above, the people who have the gall to call out Patch for his actions, or don't think he's as funny as he thinks he is, are treated as asshats who just need to get a sense of humor. Keep in mind that some of the things Patch did are crimes, and that all of his actions led to the deaths of two people, including his girlfriend.
  • Don't Shoot the Message: Many of the film's fiercest critics are those who believe in new forms of medical treatment and agree with Patch that patients should be treated as more than sicknesses to be cured and there should be services for those without insurance but detest the immature way these messages are conveyed.
  • Dude, Not Funny!:
    • At one point in the mental hospital, Patch gets a laugh by putting words in the mouth of "Beanie," a catatonic schizophrenic. Keep in mind that in real life, catatonic schizophrenics are very aware of what's going on around them during their catatonic episodes, even though they're powerless to respond, and are frequently upset by people doing things exactly like that. Now watch that scene again. Ouch.
    • Making this particular one worse is that in Awakenings, Williams was portraying a doctor who was dealing with catatonic patients in the 1960's and it accurately touched upon the horror they experience being trapped inside their own heads - Sayer, the doctor, was very sensitive to their plight. Robin Williams should have seriously known better than to think this brand of humour was in any way taseful.
    • That stunt Patch pulls to the visiting gynecologists where he places a pair of giant inflatable legs by the college's door so the entrance resembles a giant vagina can come off as not funny, just Sick and Wrong.
      • And of course there's the whole "replace a real person who died with an obvious love interest for no other discernible reason other than shoving in a cheap Hollywood cliche" thing.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: "What's wrong with death?" That's the last thing you ever want to hear from your doctor.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • Remember when Patch asks what happens when a doctor becomes emotionally involved with a patient and sarcastically thinks they might explode? He finds out when his girlfriend is shot by a psychotic patient.
    • What makes this worse is that the killer's mental instability could have been detected had Adams run a background check. Like a doctor is supposed to do.
  • Glurge: ... We're supposed to find this movie inspiring and touching, when the protagonist is an unsufferable Jerk Ass who gets away with lots of crap he shouldn't?
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Every single scene where Patch contemplates suicide is incredibly difficult to watch now that his actor, Robin Williams, had committed suicide himself. Also now much harsher to hear is his line, "what's wrong with death?"
    • Plus, Phillip Seymour Hoffman playing his roommate, as both would die before their time in the same year.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • You know, the government should pay for health insurance.
    • This was hardly a new idea-most developed countries had universal healthcare by the time the film was made, and President Bill Clinton attempted to pass the same thing in the early 1990s as well.
    • At one point when Patch is entertaining terminally-ill children, he pretends to be a Cloud Cuckoolander doctor who is about to perform surgery: "My name is Doctor... [checks badge] ...Phil."
  • Jerk Sue: Patch, himself.
  • Retroactive Recognition: During Carin's funeral, Greg Sestero i.e. Mark from The Room appears as an extra. Oh hai, Mark!
  • Strawman Has a Point: The villains argue that doctors should act professionally. Not exactly a bad thing.
    • Patch's point is that professionalism should not supersede humanity. He's criticizing the medical profession's tendency to distance themselves from their patients, to the disservice of the patient's mental well-being. He's not necessarily wrong, it's just that he tends to go too far in the other direction.
      • And, of course, the film goes to the lengths of making the more professional doctors into strawmen by making them so emotionally distant that they've apparently never heard of bedside manner, such as casually talking about amputating a patient's leg in front of her as if she wasn't even there.
    • It's important to consider the doctor's mental well-being. Getting too attached to patients and then watching helplessly as they die can really put a person out of sorts. It's why they try to be more distant in the first place.
    • It doesn't help when Patch does things like mock the concept of women's health, then decides that those who aren't laughing just lack a sense of humor. (Or maybe they just, you know, don't like obnoxious people?)
    • Another thing is a scene where Patch wonders why a doctor shouldn't get emotionally involved with their patients, when later in the film a doctor is killed by a psychotic patient that she had gotten too emotionally involved with!
    • At one point, Patch's roommate accuses him of cheating. Considering Patch has spent the entire movie goofing off and not studying at any point, yet also getting the highest scores of his class, that really could've used an actual counterargument, instead of just treating him as wrong.
    • A psychiatrist reprimands him for the bit mentioned above in Dude, Not Funny!. Again, he's treated like a strawman.
  • They Just Didn't Care: The real Patch Adams criticized the film for simplifying him and his ideas while prioritizing commercial viability over accuracy.
  • Too Dumb to Live - What an Idiot: Carin brings her own death on her own person, via being stupid enough to drive all the way to the house of a patient that is obviously unstable, without bothering to call the police or tell anyone to come with her as support. Naturally, she gets shot to death for the trouble.

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