We were a little late in migrating over to Rio, but it wasn't bad, as 3-D animated movies about flightless birds go.
WW Critic's Score: 63
The new Fox cartoon begins with a Busby-Berkeley-in-Brazil number, a computer-choreographed cavalcade of tropical feathers. But then Man Is In The Rain Forest, and Rio never regains that first kinetic burst—it's grounded by the story of Blu (an amusingly fussy vocal turn by Jesse Eisenberg), a macaw endangered by poaching and his own domestic timidity, which has left him unable to fly. His crisis is a transparent case of performance anxiety; his lady bird friend (Anne Hathaway) is not very understanding. The mismatched pair are imperiled by plasticine humans and an embittered, cannibalistic ex-caberet-idol cockatoo (Jemaine Clement, continuing his habit of making his own separate, better movie in the middle of the movie paying his bills) who brags of his wicked deeds in Rio's only memorable song: "I poop on people and I blame it on seagulls." Other music bears an unfortunate and unmistakable Black Eyed Peas influence; will.i.am and Jamie Foxx play songbirds, and it is worth noting that will.i.am puts in considerably more effort. Overall, it's hard to watch a cartoon toucan without thinking he's selling you cereal. But this one is voiced by George Lopez, and he's selling Latino libido and the joys of species procreation. That just means more little CGI birds get made, and I didn't mind that. I'm only human—I like artificial colors and flavors. G.
Rio opens wide today; find showtimes here.