RIO (PG for mild crude humor): The plot of this wildly set-in-motion computer animated comedy from 20th Century Fox's Blue Sky Studios (who gave us the Ice Age series) is a non-stop frenzy - brilliantly colored and frenetically acted. It follows the live action tenet of concealing mediocrity with speed & noise - 95-minutes of sensory bombardment that eludes boredom with every trick up the computer animated sleeve. (Though our screens do not, so far, offer 3D visions, we miss - in this case - the added fun as our characters leap, soar, run, chase, dodge around, and flutter in unendingly dizzy action.)
A modest story is about a Minnesota bred macaw (no kidding) that winds up in Rio de Janeiro to be mated with the only other blue macaw in existence. Problem: he doesn't know how to fly and he's more interested in anything BUT mating. Adding action to the slight plot (rife with some of the corniest yuks to date) are artificially inserted song & dance numbers with easily forgettable tunes - again, loud & lively - signifying nothing - a brilliantly colorful Brazillian thread to stretch the minimal plot to full feature length.
Director Carlos Saldanha, a native of Brazil, seems more concerned with pace and flair than with accuracy; since most of his characters speak with a decidedly Mexican accent, but his cast of voices of the main characters - Jesse Eisenberg's as the citified Blu, Anna Hathaway's lady bird Jewel, Rodrigo Santoro's ornithologist Tulio, Jemaine Clement's imperiously bullying cockatoo Nigel, a trio of smugglers, etc. - are instilled with the same frenzied enthusiasm as the rest of the flick. Add to them a horde of monkeys (marmosets?), a disgustingly drooling bulldog, pink flamingos, and birds of every size, shape & color from the surrounding jungle, set against a stunning backdrop of familiar Rio sights - Sugar Loaf mountain, Christ above the bay, etc. - played out during a climactic, dazzling carnival parade (There's always Carnival in Rio) and you have the fabulous atmosphere of "Black Orpheus," Saludos Amigos," and even Carmen Miranda's fruity head-dress included - almost eclipsed by the embarrassingly mundane scenario. Fun to look at, amusing to listen to, ultimately boring to endure. I'm not even sure the kids will sit enraptured by it. (Grade: C+)