I’m not sure what they were going for with “Rio Sex Comedy,” but what they got was a hot mess. Like most hot messes, however, it does have some entertainment value.
We are introduced to several people, each of whom has his own storyline, and these narratives occasionally merge. Bill Pullman plays William, the under-qualified American ambassador to Brazil. Overwhelmed by the job, and not even speaking Portuguese, he flees his handlers, disappearing into a favela (slum). There he meets a gorgeous local girl and Fish (Fisher Stevens), an American who runs tours of the favela and the countryside. Fish helps William hide out and nurtures the ambassador’s newfound passion for improving the conditions of favela-dwellers. Then there’s Charlotte (Charlotte Rampling.) (The director apparently felt it would be too difficult for the actors to take on character names different from their own.) Charlotte is a renowned plastic surgeon recruited to Brazil, the plastic surgery capital of the world. Her specialty seems to be psychiatry, however, as she always talks her patients out of having surgery. One of those patients is Irene (Irene Jacob), a French expatriate who is having a steamy affair with her brother-in-law.
These folks sort of bounce around Rio de Janeiro with their privates hanging out. The film makes occasional, nonsensical efforts at social commentary, but mostly it’s about nudity and silliness.
One interesting thing about “Rio Sex Comedy” is that it is in Portuguese, French, and English, which means that no matter where it is shown, there will be subtitles. This kind of “world cinema” is something I expect we will see more of, and it’s kind of cool.
2 stars out of 5