It's Pat

It's Pat

A large person stands naked in the center of the poster, with a big pink question mark covering their body

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Adam Bernstein
Produced by Charles B. Wessler
Screenplay by Julia Sweeney
Jim Emerson
Stephen Hibbert
Quentin Tarantino
Based on The character
by Julia Sweeney
Music by Mark Mothersbaugh
Cinematography Jeff Jur
Edited by Norman Hollyn
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
Release dates
  • August 26, 1994 (1994-08-26)
Running time
78 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $8 million[1]
Box office $60,822[2]

It's Pat is a 1994 American comedy film directed by Adam Bernstein and starring Julia Sweeney, Dave Foley, Charles Rocket, and Kathy Griffin. The film was based on the Saturday Night Live (SNL) character Pat, created by Sweeney, an androgynous misfit whose gender is never revealed.

Dave Foley plays Pat's partner, Chris, and Charles Rocket, another SNL alumnus, plays Pat's neighbor, Kyle Jacobsen.


Pat Riley is an chubby, whiny, and obnoxious job-hopper who is searching for a steady foundation in life. Pat encounters Chris, whose gender is also unrevealed. The two fall in love, and get engaged. Meanwhile, Pat's neighbor, Kyle Jacobsen, develops an unhealthy obsession with unveiling Pat's gender, and begins stalking Pat. Kyle sends in a tape of Pat performing karaoke to a TV show called America's Creepiest People, bringing Pat to the attention of the band Ween, who feature Pat in one of their performances; Pat plays the tuba. When Pat learns that Ween intended to only use Pat for one gig, Pat and Chris break up.

Kyle steals the laptop containing Pat's diary and tries to coerce Pat into revealing the computer's password, so he can access the files. Pat's only answer is that the word is in the dictionary. Kyle then begins to type in every single word in the dictionary.

Meanwhile, a gang of thugs intent on discovering Pat's gender begin harassing Pat, and Pat becomes distraught over the thugs' androgynous nature. Pat goes to complain to Kathy, a friend who is a therapist and host of a radio talk show. When Pat gives acerbic reactions to call-in listeners, the station fires Kathy and replaces her with Pat.

Kyle ends up going through the entire dictionary until he reaches the last word, "zythum" (an Egyptian malt beer), which is the password. After reading through the diary, he discovers no new information in regards to Pat's gender, and finally snaps.

Kyle calls into Pat's radio show, and tells Pat to meet him at the Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum, stating that this is the only chance for Pat to retrieve the laptop. Pat arrives to find Kyle dressed exactly like Pat. Kyle demands that Pat strip naked, but Pat runs off into a Ween concert. After Kyle corners Pat on a catwalk, Pat falls, and Pat's clothes get caught on a hook. This tears off Pat's pants and lowers Pat in front of the cheering audience, though Pat's genitals are revealed neither to Kyle nor to the moviegoer. Kyle is subsequently taken away by security guards. Pat then runs to see Chris, just as Chris is leaving on an ocean liner. In an epilogue, Pat and Chris get married.

During the end credits, Kathy is now hosting her radio show again and the first caller is none other than Kyle, whose obsession with Pat has driven him to cross-dressing.

(It has been revealed that Pat is a woman)



The film was written by Sweeney, Jim Emerson (Sweeney's friend from their days with The Groundlings,[3]), and Sweeney's former husband, Stephen Hibbert.[3] While at the Groundlings, Emerson suggested that the character Pat, at the time a "character based on annoying co-workers who don't leave you alone", be made androgynous.[3]

Three months before the film's release, Sweeney commented on her initial reluctance to do a film based on Pat:[4]

I resisted it completely. I just didn't know how we could make it last for two hours. But 20th Century Fox was really keen; our producer was really keen. So we thought, OK, we'll write the script. And after three months, we fell madly in love with the script. Unfortunately, Fox did not.

Touchstone Pictures decided to produce the film, after Fox bowed out.[4]

Quentin Tarantino revealed that he was an uncredited writer on the script.[5][6]


It's Pat was universally panned by critics, and has a rare 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 11 reviews.[7]

Variety magazine called the film "shockingly unfunny", noting that Sweeney had "perversely turned the relatively harmless TV character into a boorish, egotistical creep for the bigscreen"; the film's "only really funny bit is Sexual Personae author Camille Paglia, deftly parodying herself, commenting on the significance of Pat's androgyny."[8]

The film opened in only three cities[9] (33 theaters[2]). Its total gross was just $60,822. As a result, the film was pulled from theaters after its opening weekend.

Coincidental tragedy and aftermath

In an unfortunate coincidence, the weekend that It's Pat opened to box office failure was also the weekend that Sweeney received serious news about her brother. Sweeney said: "The movie bombed on Friday, and on Sunday [my brother] Mike called, saying he was very sick and didn't have insurance."

The subsequent events, including the death of her brother, became the subject of Sweeney's one-woman show and film, titled God said "Ha!".[10]

Awards and nominations

It's Pat was a multiple nominee at the 16th Golden Raspberry Awards, though the film's cast and crew lost in every category to Showgirls:


No soundtrack album was released. The songs from It's Pat are listed below as shown within the film's credits:

  1. "It's Pat Theme" - Christina Zander, Julia Sweeney, Cheryl Hardwick
  2. "Walz Pompadour" (written by Tom Elliot)
  3. "Poem of Crickets" (written by 長沢 勝俊 (Katsutoshi Nagasawa)
  4. "Delta Swelter" - Gary Fletcher, Paul Jones, Dave Kelly, Tom McGuinness, Bob Townsend
  5. "The Cool Look" - Johnny Hawksworth
  6. "Brain Women" - Mark Mothersbaugh
  7. "Everybody Loves Somebody" - Julia Sweeney
  8. "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)" - Aerosmith
  9. "Le Freak" - Julia Sweeney
  10. "Paero" - Phillippe Lhommt, Jacques Mercier
  11. "Pork Roll, Egg and Cheese" - Ween
  12. "How's It Gonna Be" - Dead Milkmen
  13. "Bring It to Me" - Collective Thoughts
  14. "Don't Get 2 Close (2 My Fantasy)" - Ween
  15. "You're the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me" - Gladys Knight & the Pips


  1. It's Pat: Julia Sweeney's gender-bending character goes to Hollywood, but can he ... er ... she ... er ... er ... Pat cross over?, a September 1994 article from Rolling Stone>
  2. 1 2 It's Pat at Box Office Mojo
  3. 1 2 3 Pat's World It's Funny Business, Hard Work And A Little Too Much Attention For Julia Sweeney, a January 1993 article from The Seattle Times
  4. 1 2 Up From the Tube, but Then Down the Drain, a May 1994 article from The New York Times
  5. Peary, Gerald (1998). Quentin Tarantino: interviews. United States of America: University Press of Missouri. pp. xviii, 126. ISBN 1-57806-050-8.
  6. "Interview: Quentin Tarantino". Playboy. November 1994. Retrieved 2013-01-13.
  7. It's Pat at Rotten Tomatoes
  8. Joe Leydon (Aug 25, 1994). "Review of It's Pat". Variety magazine.
  9. How I Spent My Cancer Vacation, a December 1996 article from Time magazine
  10. At Home with Julia Sweeney: Year of the Circling Wagons, a February 1999 article from The New York Times

External links

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