Picks and Pans Review: Blame It on Rio

updated 02/20/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/20/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST

Michael Caine may be the most charming and persuasive actor in movies today, but even his sure comic touch cannot save this sniggering sex farce, which uses statutory rape as its playful premise. Caine and Joseph (My Favorite Year) Bologna play business partners with bad marriages. Bologna is on the brink of divorce and Caine's wife, stridently acted by Valerie (Rhoda) Harper, is fed up with her husband's neglect. That's when the boys decide to vacation in Rio with their respective teenage daughters. Model-turned-actress Michelle Johnson plays Bologna's 15-year-old, a zaftig free spirit who can't hide her yen for Caine even from his daughter, played by Demi Moore (General Hospital's Jackie Templeton). Johnson, who is modest only in talent, displays her centerfold's body at every opportunity. (She and Moore strut onto the beach topless in front of their nonplussed daddies.) The climax, as it were, arrives when Johnson pulls off Caine's swim trunks. The ensuing explicit Caine/Johnson love scenes are a natural target for the Moral Majority. Let's face it: Roman Polanski was arrested for doing what Caine does in this movie. It isn't surprising that Charlie Peters, whose tawdry work includes Paternity and Kiss Me Goodbye, wrote the screenplay. But what is incomprehensible is that such formidable talents as co-screenwriter Larry (Tootsie) Gelbart and director Stanley (Singin'in the Rain) Donen abet Peters in ladling out this swill. Don't blame it on Rio, which, as photographed by Reynaldo Villalobos, has all the romantic innocence the film lacks. (R)

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