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Rio (3D)


Stars: Voices: Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, Leslie Mann, Jemaine Clement, Carlos Ponce, Jamie Foxx,, Wanda Sykes, Jane Lynch, Rodrigo Santoro, George Lopez

Director: Carlos Saldanha

Blu (Eisenberg), a rare blue macaw, is taken as a chick from his Brazilian rainforest home. But his crate falls off the back of a truck, and Blu ends in the care of a girl, Linda (Mann), who grows up to run a bookstore. Blu lives in a cage, but can open the door. He never learns to fly.

One day, Tuilio (Santoro), a Brazilian conservationist, comes to the store and persuades Linda to bring Blu to Rio to mate with a female, Jewel (Hathaway), as they're believed to be the last of their species. The macaws initially dislike each other, but are thrown together when kidnapped by bird smugglers, led by Marcel (Ponce). He plans to sell them abroad for a fortune, aided by his villainous (and ugly) cockatoo, Nigel (Clement).

Helped by a toucan and two scruffy streetbirds (Lopez, Foxx,, Blue and Jewel make their escape, but, chained together like Hannay and partner in The 39 Steps, they are pursued by the smugglers, Nigel, and an army of pickpocket marmosets. Eventually, of course, Blu proves himself to be, well, the real macaw.

Eisenberg and Hathaway do their best to inject personality into the macaws, but the animated feature, although vividly colourful, is all frantic action, jangled Brazilian rhythms and not enough character, well though the birds are realised. Songs are scarce and underwhelming, funny lines few. Best of them goes to a bat, captured by accident with the birds, who reacts like Dracula to a sudden burst of sunlight.

The ending provides a modest emotional uplift, but Jungle Book this ain't.

David Quinlan

USA 2011. UK Distributor: 20th Century Fox. Colour by deluxe.
96 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: U.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 05 Apr 2011