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APRIL 14, 2014

RIO (2011)

I understand that I’m not the key demographic for RIO, but I think that statement perfectly illustrates (pun intended) why I wanted one of these blue macaw’s to jump off the screen and claw my eyes out so I would be spared from watching it. 

I know that sounds harsh (and I hope you can read my over-the-top sarcasm in this review), but after seeing the recent animated masterpieces like HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, WRECK-IT RALPH, FROZEN and THE LEGO MOVIE, I expect more especially with such terrific talent onboard. 

But I’m getting ahead of myself. RIO is the story of Blu (Jesse Eisenberg), a domesticated blue macaw that may very well be the last of his species. Fortunately his owner Linda (Leslie Mann) is contacted by Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro) and spirited away to Rio de Janeiro where he has a female blue macaw named Jewel (Anne Hathaway). 

The plan is to have them mate and propagate the species, but things don’t go so well when the birds are kidnapped by animal smugglers to be sold on the black market. Fortunately they make friends with a collection of city birds that help them reunite with their human companions. Oops…I hope I didn’t spoil the ending for you. 

The film is handsomely made and very colorful with lots of singing and incredible flights of fancy, but it is maddeningly generic and predictable. With obvious plotting and banal jokes, RIO is beyond tedious. 

We were invited to a birthday party to watch RIO 2 on Saturday and RIO was on FX Friday night and it made sense to watch it if I was going to be forced to see the sequel. I suffered through RIO with my 6-year old son and 10-year old daughter. He loved it and couldn’t wait to see the sequel (“I have no son!”) while my daughter, bless her soul, rolled her eyes through the entire film and begged me not to make her see RIO 2. I should have shown them SOPHIE’S CHOICE instead. 

So there you have it. Bottom line is that I expect much more from animated films. PIXAR has raised the bar to the top and the other animation studios keep giving them a run for their money. If I have to watch these films with my kids then I deserve to be entertained as well. 

FYI: Click “NEXT” to read my equally scathing review of RIO 2 and share my pain.