Maverick medical student Hunter "Patch" Adams (Williams) takes the expression "laughter is the best medicine" literally and treats terminally ill patients with slapstick routines. Naturally, his stodgy old boss, not to mention the rest of the medical establishment, frown on his antics and prefer more conventional treatments (like medicine). But Patch thumbs his nose at The Man and tries to defend his unorthodox ways to fellow students, including the requisite love interest (Potter). Director Shadyac and screenwriter Oedekerk seem to let Williams unleash his rapid-fire wackiness without much direction. Ultimately, flick is brought down by sappy melodrama and emotional manipulation under the guise of sincere emotion.