The latest 3D CGI talking-animal movie is about a rare and pampered pet macaw named Blu from Minneapolis (voiced by The Social Network’s Jesse Eisensberg) who goes to Rio de Janeiro to breed with Jewel (Anne Hathaway) and save his species. But he ends up separated from his owner and stranded in the rain forest and the mean streets of Rio.
It’s standard fish-out-of-water stuff (in this case, bird-out-of-cage stuff), with sassy sidekicks (Jamie Foxx, George Lopez, and Tracy Morgan), an evil cockatoo (The Flight of the Conchords’ Jemaine Clement), and a major obstacle for the hero to overcome (Blu doesn’t know how to fly).
Rio’s colorful animation looks great, especially the rainbow coalition of birds on display and during the Carnival-set finale. But the story is flimsy and the jokes aren’t very smart. Like its main bird, the movie has a little trouble taking off. --Michael Gallucci