- Movie Rating -

Blame It On Rio (1984)

| February 17, 1984

Between the Woody Allen pictures and the comedies of Blake Edwards, there seems to be a whole genre of films about middle aged men seeking the physical affections of young women.  Well, girls.  Let’s be frank.  There’s something about men with money seducing young women with beautiful bodies and a budding sexuality.  Personally, it makes me cringe and that was my problem with Blame it On Rio, a movie that was directed by neither Allen nor Edwards but by Stanley Donen and that doesn’t make it any less unsavory.

The movie stars Michael Caine as Matthew, a family man with a teenaged daughter Nikki (Demi Moore) and a wife named Karen (Valarie Harper) who questions the future of their union.  The family is getting ready for a trip to Rio, but suddenly Karen decides that she needs a me-cation away from Matthew and Nikki.  Along on the trip is Matthew’s colleague Victor (Joseph Bologna) and his teenaged daughter Jennifer (Michelle Johnson).

While on the trip, Matthew finds himself unexpectedly having sex on the beach with Jennifer, which he later regrets and wishes to completely forget.  Jennifer doesn’t want to forget and becomes infatuated with her new lover.  Victor becomes aware that an older man is seeing his daughter but doesn’t know how, and determines to find the guy and tear him limb from limb.

There is a comic possibility there.  The problem is that it is overshadowed by the fact that a 44-year-old man is having sex with a 17-year-old girl.  That was a hurdle that I just couldn’t jump over and it pulled the whole movie into a realm of creepy realism.  To make matters worse, Jennifer turns out to be suicidal and that brings whatever moments of humor the movie created crashing to the floor.

Blame it On Rio is a mistake from the start and even though it tries to collect itself with a dramatic scene at the end, a sort of revelation and forgiveness, it can’t excuse the fact that a May-December sexual encounter just doesn’t work as comedy.  I felt creepy all through this movie.  When it was over, I wanted to take a shower.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1984) View IMDB Filed in: Comedy