Girl from Rio (2001)
Laurie Shakes his Samba Hips
Raymond Woods (Hugh Laurie) is a banking professional who has worked his way up to the junior management position at a bank in the City. But it is a dull job surrounded by dull people and all Raymond can think about is dancing and teaching Samba as well as famous dancer Orlinda (Vanessa Nunes) who he has a crush on. When Raymond learns that his wife has been having an affair with his boss he robs the bank by filling up a couple of bin bags with as much money he can stuff in it before flying out to Rio de Janeiro for Christmas. But Raymond's bag of money doesn't go unnoticed and whilst he gets to meet, dance and sleep with Orlinda he also gets into a series of incidents as various people want his money making him wonder whether he should just fly back home and return the money before anyone notices it has gone.
"Girl from Rio" kind of reminds me of an Ealing comedy but one which is made in a modern way. I say that as the basic storyline of a despondent junior bank manager deciding to rob his own bank and head to Rio and in to a series of mishaps feels like something which Ealing might have done 40 years earlier. But it has that modern aspect with rather than Raymond being a stiff he has a flamboyant side and is not averse to making a scene in public. Not only that we have a surprising sex scene involving a washing machine on fast spin, it will take you by surprise and almost embarrass you.
What "Girl from Rio" also has is Hugh Laurie who if he had been a movie star 40 years earlier would have definitely starred in a series of Ealing comedies. It is Laurie's comic timing and intentionally over the top performance which makes it so much fun especially when in the early scenes he combines it with some typical British mild mannered ness. There is of course also Vanessa Nunes who is incredibly sexy but for all the okay other actors and characters it is Laurie as Raymond who makes the movie.
The trouble with "Girl from Rio" is that what happens to Raymond in Rio is not that entertaining and in some ways quite cliche. Yes Laurie makes it work like he does all of the movie but after the entertaining set up you feel you want something more. In fairness it tries to give you something more with a twist ending yet somehow even that feels a bit of a let down and done before.
What this all boils down to is that "Girl from Rio" is fun thanks to Hugh Laurie who makes the movie as well as an entertaining set up which has a touch of Ealing about it. But sadly the initial premise is not built on enough to make it anything more than just a fun movie.
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