See our Best of Detroit 2020 winners.

Rio 

In 'sunny,' 'breezy' and 'lively' Rio

click to enlarge Rio impresses with its skater pace.
  • Rio impresses with its skater pace.

Rio

GRADE: B-

Fun, sweet-natured and filled with brilliantly colored visuals (apt for its Brazilian setting), Rio is predictable and weightless fluff, a kiddie flick that's instantly forgettable but far from regrettable. With a handful of Latin-inflected song-and-dance numbers, wonderful aerial sequences (enhanced by 3-D), and a spectacularly exotic setting, the latest kiddie CGI-fest from Blue Sky Studios (Ice Age, Horton Hears a Who) will attract plenty of throwaway compliments. Get ready for adjectives like "sunny," "breezy," and "lively."

Jesse Eisenberg voices Blu, a rare cerulean macaw who has lived all his pampered life in Minnesota with bookish Linda (Leslie Mann). Nerdy, nervous and unable to fly, he's brought to Rio de Janeiro for breeding purposes and — wouldn't you know it — it's Carnival! Unfortunately, his mate-to-be is the feisty and eager-to-escape Jewel (Anne Hathaway). Worse, the two are kidnapped by heartless bird thieves, looking to smuggle them out of the city. Before you can say "fish out of water" the mismatched macaws are on the run — literally. Chained together, flightless Blu prevents Jewel from taking to the sky, making it harder for them to dodge two dim-witted poachers (Brazilian versions of Cruella de Ville's Horace and Jasper) and their boss' dastardly cockatoo, Nigel (Jemaine Clement).

Though the plot is connect-the-dots predictable and the human characters are blander than bland, Rio still entertains with its fleet-footed pace, wonderful and vibrant visuals, and standout voice talent. Eisenberg excels in his nervy but uncertain geek thing, Jamie Foxx and will.i.am impress as a pair of singing sidekicks, and Flight of the Conchords' Clement savors every menacing line. Best of all, director Carlos Saldhana keeps his movie mercifully pop-culture free, with most of the jokes aimed for the under-4-foot set.

And even when Rio does indulge in a little parental insider humor, it entails casting Bebel Gilberto as a toucan who can't sing. You've got to admire a kid's flick that aims its adult gags way over the heads of the kids' chaperones.

Tags:

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 21, 2020

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit