You know that thing where you’re surfing through Netflix with only a vague idea of what you want to watch? Something you haven’t seen before. Something whimsical. Weird is fine. Maybe you stumble into the Fantasy Movies section and scroll and scroll looking for something new to you that isn’t being advertised with a vixen in metal bikini armor.
Take a moment with this image. Before you read any further, go to comments now and give me your best guess what Patch Town could possibly be about. I’ll wait.
Okay. So maybe you noticed that sleeping baby is nestled in a cabbage? Well, Patch Town is a fantasy adventure that imagines—without treading into lawsuit terrain—what if the Cabbage Patch Kids doll you cradled and loved in your youth was actually a real baby born from a real cabbage patch that was then transformed into a doll by a well-meaning but shortsighted inventor?
Now imagine that this inventor sent out his spiteful son to steal back these dolls so they could be made human again, but the son betrayed his dad by forcing these cabbage kids into working in a factory that churns out more of their kind to make into dolls for sale. This is the just the backstory in Patch Town. The plot follows a grown (or overgrown) Cabbage Patch Kid who is searching for his “real mom,” meaning the little girl who once loved him and is now an adult being targeted by his evil, enslaving industrialist boss.
Bonkers, right? Completely. Oh, and did I mention this is a musical?
Patch Town is like The City of Lost Children meets The Nightmare Before Christmas meets Elf meets Hairspray meets Brazil. Which is not to say it’s good. The dialogue is so clunky that I began to wish it were in another language so I could blame poorly translated subtitles. The acting ranges from wooden to cartoonish, often in the same scene. The plot mades no semblance of sense. But damn if it’s not defiantly delightful in its abject oddity! It’s the kind of movie I’d have gladly rented as a child, every weekend on VHS, watching again and again just to revisit it’s weird little world where goo-filled cabbages birth babies, blackhatted villains burst into song and an underground refugee railroad ends with work as a mall Santa.
I won’t promise you that you’ll like Patch Town. But I will promise you’ve never seen anything quite like it before. And when I’m scrolling through a seemingly endless array of sequels, reboots, and mockbusters on Netflix, I for one welcome an occasional title this original and this WTF.
Kristy Puchko will be keeping an eye out for more from Patch Town director Craig Goodwill.