Plot: What’s it about?
Trudy Lintz (Rene Russo) is married, well off, and she can be on the strange side at times. You see, she likes to have a full house and as such, the rooms are always full and the hallways always bustling with traffic. But Trudy and her husband (Robbie Coltrane) have no children at home and visitors don’t account for most of the space. So just what is going on inside her house? Well, Trudy likes to populate her home with animals of all kinds, from tropical birds to chimpanzees to raccoons and of course, she loves each one like her own child. And as she always looks for new housemates, she simply cannot refuse a small gorilla, so she takes it in and makes it part of her own animal kingdom. As the gorilla grows up and soon enough, Buddy is the king of the household, even if he still takes orders from Trudy. This massive creature sometimes gets into trouble by mistake, but Buddy still shows plenty of refinement nonetheless. But when Trudy takes Buddy and some other primates out to be seen, everything that can go wrong…does.
I suppose it is just one of my cinematic weak spots, but I really like animal movies, from the cuddly ones like Air Bud to the meanies like Lake Placid. Maybe these don’t always have the highest level of film involved, but I guess I like to see animals outsmart the humans. This one features a cool, but animatronic gorilla and while I always prefer the real beasts, this movie still has some value in the end. The folks at Jim Henson’s Creature Shop did a real work of art with this primate, as it looks, sounds, and moves much like the real banana. Of course, you can tell it isn’t a genuine gorilla, but it comes darn close if you ask me. Now the rest of the film features some cool real life animal antics also, which seem to be the sole graces of this picture. Rene Russo is a talented performer and even with this material, seems to soak up the screen very well. So if you want more than a barrel of animal fun, then isn’t the movie you need, but if you need a quick fix of animal hijinks, then give Buddy a rental.
I love the work of Rene Russo and although she has taken a few bum roles, I think she fares very well in this one. I know sharing the screen with monkeys, cats, birds, and an arkload of other creatures might seem odd, but Russo handles it all with no problems. Her role calls for her to seem a little quirky and she is just that, which causes her to be a little too sweet at times. This never hinders her work much though, as she usually comes through in fine form. Russo proves her worth once again, even when she’s surrounded by fur covered costars and I don’t mean Robin Williams. Other films with Russo include The Thomas Crown Affair, In The Line Of Fire, The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle, Tin Cup, Ransom, and Lethal Weapon 3. The cast here also includes Robbie Coltrane (Mona Lisa, Goldeneye), Irma P. Hall (Soul Food, Patch Adams), Paul Reubens (Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Mystery Men), and Alan Cumming (Titus, Circle of Friends).
Video: How does it look?
Buddy is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, while a full frame edition is included on the disc’s flip side. I’ve never seen this film in widescreen before and I have to report, the visuals open up so much, I never noticed how superb the camerawork and production design was before. I expected some change, as the VHS was pan & scan, but I didn’t think this much difference would be present. If you want to see the true benefits of a widescreen transfer, compare the two versions here, you’ll be amazed and maybe you can turn some folks around with it, who knows. In ay event, this is a terrific transfer, complete with lush colors, bold contrast, and a smooth compression. I saw no real issues to complain about in the least and aside from some small flaws, this is a gorgeous presentation. Simply fantastic work all around here, kudos to the team who put this transfer together indeed.
Audio: How does it sound?
The included Dolby Digital 5.0 track is no slouch either however, with a wide range of surround use and an overall pleasant experience. All those animal noises provide lots of chances for audio presence and here, those chances are taken and cashed in at full worth. You’ll hear those squeaks, chirps, meows, and grunts all around, thanks to a very active surround presence. Some normal sound effects also chime in, but how can they compete with monkey driven audio, right? The musical score and dialogue also sound good, so don’t be concerned about those elements either. This disc also includes 2.0 surround tracks in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese, also subtitles in those languages as well as Korean, Chinese, and Thai.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes some talent files, a five minute featurette, and the film’s theatrical trailer.