Rio DI
2011 Running time: 96 Certificate: u Rating: 3
KA Rio

Synopsis

Macaw blimey - the director of Ice Age turns up the heat for the colourful adventures of Blu, an over-domesticated macaw (voiced by Jesse Eisenberg) who is whisked from his Minnesota home to be with the last female of his species in Rio. But free-spirited Jewel (Anne Hathaway) is not impressed – especially when Blu leaves it until they are in the clutches of bird smugglers to reveal his most embarrassing secret: he can't fly! With Jamie Foxx and will. i. am amongst the menagerie of salsa-mad sidekicks and Jemaine Clement as a villainous cockatoo called Nigel, Rio sounds almost as splendid as it looks.

Director

  • Carlos Saldanha

Cast

  • Jesse Eisenberg

  • Anne Hathaway

  • Leslie Mann

  • Jamie Foxx

  • Jemaine Clement

  • George Lopez

  • will.i.am

Review

Throwing up more colour than an explosion at a Smarties factory, Rio makes the Chelsea Flower Show look like a wet weekend in Watford.

But parrots that can't fly? Believe that, and you'll probably believe they can talk too.

Raised from chick-hood in snowy Minnesota, rare macaw Blu (Eisenberg) has matured into a real nerdy-bird under the wing of loving bookshop owner Linda (Leslie Mann). With everything he needs at the end of his talons, Blu has never learned how to fly.

But when a nutty ornithologist arrives to say that the survival of Blu's species depends on him travelling to Brazil, Linda has no choice but to take him to meet his only potential mate.

That would be Jewel (Hathaway), a cerulean firecracker who doesn't take kindly to captivity - or being forced to go beak-to-beak with a berk like Blu.

Alas, it looks as though they could be chained together for some time when they are bird-napped by a gang of animal traffickers and their foul-feathered accomplice Nigel (a juicy slice of vocal ham from Flight Of The Conchords star Clement).

Despite Blu's inability to take wing, they escape. Then it's simply a matter of reuniting him with Linda. And if he can get the girl, learn to fly and evade Nigel and the rogue traders in the meantime, so much the better.

Along the way, the potential lovebirds are assisted by a hen-pecked toucan (George Lopez), a canary-and-cardinal double act (Foxx and Black Eyed Pea will.i.am), and a bulldog with a drool problem (30 Rock-er Tracy Morgan).

There's also an amusing showdown with a troop of sneaky marmosets, though as little more than streetwise cousins to the lemurs of Madagascar, they do highlight the familiarity of the characters.

Nor is there anything new about the fish-out-of-water (or in this case, bird-out-of-cage) scenario. But there's no doubt that Rio the city provides the perfect setting for Rio the adventure.

Guided by the native wit and instinct of Brazilian director Carlos Saldanha, the (3D) action soars between the rooftops and party-crowded streets to the surrounding cliffs and jungles with barely any drop in tempo.

It also covers the generation divide with gags that range pleasingly between slapstick and sly (dead parrot sketch included) and a soundtrack that plants Taio Cruz next to Lionel Richie.

It's odd that Blu's initial abduction from the rainforest is never mentioned... but in these days of rabid eco-hectoring, it's equally refreshing to see a splashy, family-friendly movie that gets its conservation message across without rubbing everyone's faces in tree bark.

Looking to get in the holiday mood? There's only one place to go.

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