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My mother loves animals. Once while looking at an old picture of myself and one of her dogs, she exclaimed, ?Oh, he was soooo cute.? ?Yes,? my wife agreed -- pondering on her husband's lost youth. ?How I loved that dog!? my mother concluded. Suddenly, all those hot summer vacations to Nevada, stuck in the back of that 0x201859 Pontiac with two panting canines, came rushing back.
Some people are animal-holics, and in Buddy that's exactly the problem with Trudy Lintz (Renee Russo). She lives in a mansion with a gaggle of animals including two chimps that romp through the house dressed like Osh Kosh models. One day the local zoo calls. They have a baby gorilla that needs help. Turdy's husband, Dr. Lintz (Robbie Coltrane) diagnoses the animal with double pneumonia. But as fate has it, Buddy (Peter Elliott) survives, and is given a cute outfit like the rest of the chimps. ?Treat animals just as you would children,? is Trudy's motto. She even insists that the primates eat with utensils at a formal dining table. Buddy grows and they train him to scrub the kitchen floor and serve hors d'oeuvres.
As I watched Buddy, it seemed impossible to predict where this movie was heading, or even to determine if it is funny or serious. Trudy's eccentric behavior seems even more bizarre against her husband's mellow detached attitude. I found myself losing patience with both of them, and so did Buddy, who gets fed up with the situation and goes ape, destroying the mansion and taking a swing at Trudy. This may be upsetting to young audiences.
Some things just seem out of place in this film -- an immaculate mansion full of animals, Dr. Lintz's patience with Trudy's animal crackers behavior, and even a subtle uncomfortable attraction between Trudy and Buddy (am I imagining things?!). Nevertheless, Buddy will help any parent who is faced with the, ?Can we keep it?? question. The movie's conclusion could start a valuable discussion with your children on the proper place for animals in our world.
Buddy is rated PG: for some threatening animal action.
Cast: Rene Russo, Robbie Coltrane