This is a fact based story about a socialite and her husband who live in a mansion with a brood of animals including chimpanzees who are raised as her children. When she discovers an ailing baby gorilla, she decides to care for it as well. Years later, the gorilla is fully grown and its strength is sometimes out of control. However, the gorilla shows love for his mistress and obeys her commands. That all changes when she is invited to display the gorilla and chimps at the Chicago World's Fair. Accidentally freed by one of the chimps, the gorilla terrorizes the Fair. From that point on, he becomes moody and more uncontrollable until he attacks his mistress in a bestial rage. Written by
John Sacksteder <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Curiously, it is Rene Russo's eyes and mouth--not Buddy the Gorilla's-- that emerge as the focal point of "Buddy", a Jim Henson Pictures production through Francis Ford Coppola's Zoetrope. Somehow, countless close-ups of Russo's face slipped passed in the post-production stages, and she literally fills the screen so many times the poor apes are upstaged. Unintentionally funny true story adapted from Gertrude "Trudy" Davies Lint's memoirs about a wealthy doctor's wife who turns their mansion into a menagerie for pets and wild-life. The movie goes beyond good intentions...it positively drips with earnest sincerity. The movie never sparkles with the kind of "family film" magic that it needed, and before too long both the people and the animals seem distinctly programmed (nothing here feels real). About ten minutes in, two chimpanzees are goofing around in Russo's kitchen and start throwing a butcher's knife back and forth (it misses Alan Cumming's head by inches); yet, no eyebrows are raised because it's all in a day's fun. Still, when full-grown gorilla Buddy gets crazy during a thunderstorm, the cops are called--and everyone stares at Buddy through the window while he busts up the living room furniture. The furniture should be the least of anyone's worries in this flabbergasting, do-gooder failure. But, at least we know Russo was in good hands: whenever director Caroline Thompson needs a good pick-up shot, she gives unstartled Rene another extreme close-up. I wonder what the lipstick budget was on this picture? ** from ****
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