08 April 2011| No Comments on Rio     by Sean Chavel


Chemistry is amiss in many of the aspects of this animation entry including off-pitch voice work. Rio opens with jungle pizzazz, an accompanying musical number with scores of colorful birds choreographed in unison. They are quickly poached – cue the sadness! – boxed and smuggled to private investors. The macaw bird hero Blu (Jesse Eisenberg), is a nerdy and unctuous bird who is raised by a Minnesota bookshop owner (Leslie Mann) who flies him back to Rio de Janeiro to mate with the last of his species, female macaw Jewel (Anne Hathaway). It becomes a thinly written love story between these two birds, but this is one of the most mismatched pairs I’ve seen amongst bantering would-be lovers – the boy bird is panicky and self-defeating, the girl bird is garrulous and self-reliant. This is underlined with maximum voice attributes by Eisenberg and Hathaway, who mesh about as well as celery and ice cream.

If Blu and Jewel were morphed into humans and appeared as Eisenberg and Hathaway, it would be a horrendous sight. But never mind, most of the other voice talents don’t make much impact, either: George Lopez, Rodrigo Santoro, George Lopez, Wanda Sykes, Jane Lynch, and Carlos Ponce. As the villainous bird Nigel, the salivating voice of Jermaine Clement (the egomaniac artist in “Dinner with Schmucks”) does the best work of the lot. There are times really I thought these actors were recording their voices in a mirrored chamber without a screen monitor.

When the movie is animated with purple skylines or lavender mist it works as a respectably vibrant piece of animation. But “Rio” spends too much time in locked up spaces or on scrappy street alleys. The movie has a bunch of hurried, plugged-in adventures – and in every one of them Jewel seems more man than Blu. Watching these two “get together” continues to be about as real as the high school prom queen hitching up with the chess club founder. “Rio” will work for young kids, but most adults will stare at the colors without a care for any of these birds’ lost feathers.

96 Minutes. Rated G.


Film Cousins: “Ice Age” (2002); “Madagascar” (2005); “Chicken Little” (2005); “Happy Feet” (2006).

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


There are No Comments about this post

Add Yours!

You must be logged in to post a comment.