Monday, November 28, 2011


Directed by Carlos Saldanha.
2011. Rated G, 96 minutes.
Jesse Eisenberg
Anne Hathaway
Leslie Mann
Rodrigo Santoro
George Lopez
Jamie Foxx
Jermaine Clement
Wanda Sykes
Bernardo de Paula
Tracy Morgan

As a wee little baby bird Blu (Eisenberg) is snatched from his habitat in the wilds of Rio de Janeiro and winds up in Minnesota as pet to Linda (Mann). One day, ornithologist Tulio (Santoro) shows up and informs Linda that Blu is the last male of his species, the blue macaw. He needs Blu to mate with Jewel (Hathaway) in order to save said species. Of course, they have to go back to Rio for this to happen. Once there, we find out a few things. Jewel is very interested in escaping Tulio’s lab and not at all interested in Blu (she has no use for humans). Smugglers are also interested in our not-so-in-lovebirds, realizing that these are the last two of their kind and very valuable. Finally, Linda and Tulio seem very interested in each other. Chasing, match-making and singing ensues.

What also ensues is little more than an hour’s worth of blandness. It finds its comfort zone in a paint-by-numbers tale that doesn’t hold any real surprises and is more than happy bing cute and slipping in a slightly risqué joke every now and again. Occasionally, something pretty funny happens, it moves along at a nice pace and at a total length of just a bit over 90 minutes it never overstays its welcome. Howerver, it never really differentiates itself from the scores of other animated kiddie flicks made in the last half decade, positively or negatively. Even the songs are kind of ho-hum, not particularly memorable with the exception of the villainous Nigel’s (Clement) tune. This is a shame because you have both Jamie Foxx (Nico) and Will.i.Am (Pedro) in the cast. Love them or hate them, they’ve both made a killing by delivering catchy numbers to pop radio. Most of what we get here feels ripped off from Madagascar.

Don’t fret. This isn’t a bad watch. It’s a perfectly pleasant time-passer. There are some excellent visuals helped by the use of color and the absence of it, in Nigel’s case. Humor comes at a decent rate with the occasional punch line that goes over the kiddies’ heads. They’ll enjoy it and you probably will, also. I’m not sure either of you will love it, but I’m pretty sure you won’t hate it.

MY SCORE: 6/10

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