By Jonathan Decker (Family therapist, film critic)
Boasting eye-catchingly colorful animation, terrific music, and first-rate vocal work by the likes of Jessie Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, Tracy Morgan, Leslie Mann, Jaime Fox, Will i. Am, Jermaine Clement, and George Lopez, Rio will provide laughs and enjoyment for adults and children alike. It follows a rare blue macaw, domesticated and raised in Minnesota, as his owner takes him to Rio de Janeiro to mate with the only other of his kind. Once there they encounter trouble in the form of illegal animal traders and apparent romantic incompatibility. Though utterly predictable (most of these types of films are), the movie is laugh-out-loud funny and has unique characters, impressively realized music/dance numbers, kinetic adventure, enjoyably silly moments, and keen attention to detail in recreating Brazil's most famous city. In a market over-saturated with computer-animated films, Rio is a pleasant surprise.
CONTENT OVERVIEW: Rio is rated PG. It has some immodestly dressed women (bikinis) and a man comedically cross-dresses in a “Laker-girl” style outfit. There is a fight between birds and monkeys that is played for laughs. A villain bird might be intimidating and scary for younger children.
MESSAGES TO DISCUSS: First impressions can be deceiving; take the time to really get to know others and find out who they really are. Procreating and having a family is natural.
For another Dreamworks Animation animal-driven romp, I recommend the highly underrated Over the Hedge.
Jonathan Decker is the clinical director of Your Family Expert. He is a licensed marriage and family therapist, husband, and father of five. Jonathan earned a masters degree in family therapy from Auburn University as well as a bachelor's degree in clinical psychology from Brigham Young University. He is an actor, author, and television personality.