If your sole moviegoing goal is to give your kids something to stare at for a couple hours, then Rio 2 is just what you’re looking for. It’s colorful and goofy and has a rash of inoffensive (though forgettable) songs. As family entertainment goes, it’s certainly tolerable. The problem is, Rio 2 never tries to be anything more than tolerable. For all the color and exuberant attempts at musical numbers, the film is never more than vaguely palatable.
I reviewed Rio (2011) when it first came out and could recall little about it besides Tracy Morgan as a skateboard-riding dog — and even that memory feels a little hazy. The sequel is just as forgettable as its predecessor, but losing something so milquetoast from my memory isn’t the worst thing imaginable. The film picks up with our animated hero, a rare blue macaw and nebbish named Blu (Jesse Eisenberg), and his family venturing off into the wilds of the Amazon where they unexpectedly find Blu’s wife’s (Anne Hathaway) family. The movie goes in two very familiar directions from there. Blu has to prove his worth to his overbearing, macho father-in-law (Andy Garcia). This runs parallel to the film’s environmentalist message. It’s almost as if the movie prides itself on this kind of rote storytelling, hitting every beat you expect it to.
Advertisements for the film made a lot of fuss about the music, but the best I can say is that I didn’t want to jab my eardrums out. For the most part, the songs are innocuous in that radio Top 40 kind of way — they’re catchy enough, but nothing is truly outstanding. The soundtrack is likely to meld together into an unrecognizable sonic blob before slowly wafting from your memory. But really, that’s what Rio 2 is all about — the relentless search for adequacy. That it gets there in the most banal of fashions is only fitting, and it is all you truly need to know about the movie. Rated G.
Playing at Carmike 10, Carolina Cinemas, Epic of Hendersonville, Regal Biltmore Grande.