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Emotional investment in 'Rio, I Love You' should be avoided

Emotional investment in 'Rio, I Love You' should be avoided
Tonico Pereira as a tourist restaurant waiter named Fernando in "Rio, I Love You." (Screen Media Films)

Even viewers who were transported by the considerable charm of 2006's "Paris, je t'aime" will be hard-pressed to show any love for the latest entry in the travelog/anthology.

Despite its connotation of sun-drenched sensuality, "Rio, I Love You" is a dispiritingly dull affair, haphazardly joining together 10 mini-films, directed by a collective of international filmmakers and featuring the likes of Harvey Keitel, Emily Mortimer, John Turturro and Vanessa Paradis, that prove to be decidedly more miss than hit.

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Only a small handful by native Brazilians show any spark — such as Andrucha Waddington's "Mrs. Nobody," starring the great Fernanda Montenegro as a grandmother who embraces homelessness, and "City of God" director Fernando Meirelles' rhythmic "The Muse," which eschews dialogue for a more artistic take on the rhythms of the city.

But the vast majority of the segments, alternately pretentious and pointless and populated by an array of uncommunicative couples, disenchanted para-gliders, love-struck priests and elderly, fanged waiters, are played out against an uninspired bossa nova beat.

Sure, it all looks picture postcard pretty, but between this and the seriously uneven "New York, I Love You," those taking in any future installments in the Cities of Love franchise (Shanghai and Jerusalem are reportedly under consideration) might wish to take out travelers insurance.

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"Rio, I Love You"

In English, Portuguese, French and Spanish with English subtitles

MPAA rating: R for language and brief sexuality/nudity

Running time: 1 hour, 50 minutes

Playing: Landmark Nuart, West L.A.

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