Buddy | Chicago Reader

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Director Caroline Thompson based her hard-to-believe screenplay, about a New York woman in the 20s who adopts a baby gorilla and trains it to behave like a human, on Gertrude Lintz's autobiography Animals Are My Hobby. Rene Russo plays Lintz, who apparently set out to prove that big, threatening animals, if lovingly mothered, will be as docile and appreciative as children. Of course this idea doesn't necessarily work with children either, but since she doesn't have any of those, Russo's character learns the hard way, with the help of an obsequious assistant (Alan Cumming) and a supportive husband (Robbie Coltrane), who coincidentally stops sharing his wife's bed when Buddy the gorilla becomes a mysteriously asexual adult. This is a cute, fast-moving story—with ambitions no higher than what it achieves.

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