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  Blame It On Rio Generation Gap
Year: 1984
Director: Stanley Donen
Stars: Michael Caine, Joseph Bologna, Michelle Johnson, Valerie Harper, Demi Moore, José Lewgoy, Lupe Gigliotti, Michael Menaugh, Tessy Callado, Ana Lucía Lima, Maria Helena Velasco, Zeni Pereira, Eduardo Conde, Betty von Wien, Nelson Dantas, Thomas Lee Mahon
Genre: ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: At the age of forty-three, Matthew Hollis (Michael Caine) found his marriage was not as happy as he had previously believed. His wife Karen (Valerie Harper) was reluctant to confront him about it, which left him baffled on what he was doing wrong, so when it came time for them to go on vacation, she decided it was best for Matthew to travel with his best friend Victor Lyons (Joseph Bologna) rather than her, as she thought a break from one another was necessary. Both men were working in Brazil's Sao Paolo, which was a city for workers, so settled on visiting Rio de Janeiro for the trip since that was a popular tourist destination and besides, they had never been before.

Matthew only wished Karen was with him, but made do with the company of Victor and his daughter Nikki (Demi Moore) - and Victor had brought his daughter Jennifer (Michelle Johnson) along too. Which was where the problem began, not only for Matthew but for the movie as well, since there was a relationship between two characters which saw Blame It On Rio lambasted by critics and audiences alike who were creeped out by watching Caine and in her debut, model Johnson acting out a May to December romance. Or May to October, maybe September, whatever, the age difference was a problem for many viewers, no matter that this was intended as a comedy, as indeed its source was, this being a remake of a Claude Berri movie from France.

This was the cause of some embarrassment for Caine, who had issues with the amount of nudity his co-star was required to film by director Stanley Donen, he of classic screen musicals fame; it seemed whenever there was a lull in the story Michelle whipped off her togs and gave us all an eyeful, and Caine may have had a point, if those scenes had been toned down it's doubtful there would have been quite the same furore. On the other hand, if they had not been included it's doubtful anyone would have remembered it, as the movie became a staple of late night television for obvious reasons, not that it did Johnson a tremendous amount of good as her career was frittered away in B-movies thereafter until she had more or less disappeared from the screen twenty years later.

Yet no matter how this romance had been presented, it was unmistakably a middle aged film, with Jennifer the one who instigates it by way of acting on a crush on Matthew she has had since childhood, and now she is a woman, admittedly a very young woman (Johnson was eighteen when she made this), she has made up her mind to use her charms to get what she wants. The producer and co-writer was Larry Gelbart, a veteran of comedy with A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum, M*A*S*H on television, and recent hit Tootsie under his belt, but Blame It On Rio would appear to be his equivalent of Blake Edwards' 10, or at least a try at cashing in on the same market. With Caine talking to camera in a bid to explain himself, it was all from his point of view, a bloke starting to get on a bit both flattered and worried about his new fling.

A fling apparently with the effect of perming and un-perming his hair, if not steaming up his huge specs, such was its power, but this was a "never mind the script, how's the holiday?" effort and in spite of his endeavours to keep up with his comedy stylings, there were only a couple of decent laughs, one where he desperately improvises that Karen is dead when confronted on the beach after Jennifer has just seduced him, and the other the memorable line "Just what I needed: a one inch god with a two inch penis", whatever that may mean. That aside, there was something rather stale about both romance and jokes, protesting too much about Matthew's reaction and the inevitable fallout not much improved in quality by Demi Moore's halfway interesting portrayal of resentment towards her screen father. There was the scenery, making for yet another holiday for the audience movie, but even then you didn't get to see much when the plot revolved around the dodgy union and supposed humour of Victor demanding Matthew find out who the lover was. Music by Kenneth Wannberg.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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