The print. (Oregon City, Oregon) 1977-1989, February 15, 1984, Page 5, Image 5

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    “Blame it on Rio” major disappointment
By J. Dana Haynes
Of The Print
ie Alpha-Omega
me Time Next
hit about an an-
25 years, involv-
I, but not to each
The sex farce has a long and illustrious
history in the motion picture industry. “Blame
It On Rio,” which opened last weekend in
Portland, will not add much to that acclaim.
“Rio” stars Michael Caine and Joseph
Bologna as two middle-aged businessmen on
vacation with their daughters in Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil. Like all good sex farces, the plot hinges
on who does what with whom behind whose
Caine (“Educating Rita,” “Deathtrap”) is
Matthew Hollis and Bologna (who was terrific
as Stan “King” Kaiser in “My Favorite Year”)
plays Victor Lyons. They’re best friends escap­
ing for a week of merriment from their respec­
tive problems. Both problems hinge on the
men’s wives. Hollis’ spouse Karen (Valerie
Harper, TV’s “Rhoda”) has suddenly decided
on a trial separation of one month, after a
twenty-year marriage of little or no love. Lyons
is being sued for divorce and deluged by her
gaggle of lawyers.
For one reason or another, the men bring
their daughters along. Caine’s progeny Nikki
(Demi Moore) hardly speaks to her dad, while
Bologna’s kid Jennifer (Michelle Johnson) gets
along OK with him while hiding a secret crush
on “Uncle Matthew.” It isn’t giving away any
great surprise to say the crush soon becomes an
affair between Caine and Johnson.
From there, it all goes pretty much accor­
ding to the rules for these kinds of shows. Who
knows? Who doesn’t know? Who’s going to get
hurt? How to get out of a few sticky wickets?
Etc, etc, etc.
The big disappointment in this comes not
from onstage but from backstage. “Rio”
was produced and co-written (with Charlie
Peters) by Larry Gelbart, the creative genius
behind the first six years of TV’s “M*A*S*H”
and the main writer of Dustin Hoffman’s
There are only a handful of television
writers who hit home as consistently as Gelbart,
whom many say was the true driving force
behind “M*A*S*H.” In “Rio,” the characters
of Matthew and Victor become sort of an up­
dated, aged Hawkeye and Trapper John and
the scenes with Caine and Bologna are pure
However, the plot is paper thin and almost
perfectly predictable. There’s nothing even
vaguely refreshing or original in the story.
You’ve seen it, I’ve seen it, we’ve all seen it.
Another big distraction comes from
Johnson as Jennifer. The reasons she was cast
as the beautiful, blonde seductress/jail-bait are
fairly obvious. Acting talent is not one of them.
Johnson is an almost perfect Brooke Shields
look-alike and sound-alike, with great legs and
lovely eyes and lots of nude scenes. Every once
in a while, you need a little more than that to
carry a role.
Demi Moore, Caine’s daughter Nikki, is
quite good in a much smaller role. It’s a shame
she wasn’t cast in the female lead, as I suspect
she could well have carried it off (anyway, she
looks more like Bologna than Johnson does).
Valerie Harper isn’t on screen enough to
judge. SheVas wonderfully funny in her sitcom
days and can do straight drama just fine. Un­
fortunately, in “Rio” she’s got 10 minutes in
the beginning of the film and about 10 minutes
in the end, and is encumbered with a harsh and
unsympathetic character. It’s a waste of talent,
since she’s obviously strong enough to carry
true characterization.
On the plus side, the direction by Stanley
Donen is fast and slick and the location
shooting in Rio de Janeiro is phenomenal. I tru­
ly doubt one could find a more beautiful city in
which to film.
Added to the crisp cinematography and
Brazilian beauty is the speed-of-light banter
and fine-tuned humor of Gelbart, and the ter­
rific acting by Caine and Bologna. Sad to say,
these good scores are nowhere near enough to
save a crummy plot.
When the over-all level of talent is analyz­
ed, “Blame It On Rio” is a major disappoint­
ment and may easily be avoided. It’s playing
(with a great deal of graphic nudity) at the
Southgate theater in Milwaukie, and the Rose
Moyer, Hollywood and Washington Square
theaters in Portland.
at the band that shook rock
tunately, with a plot as weak as people driv­
ing around England in a colorfully decorated
bus, even the Beatles would have trouble
making it commercially successful. As it turn­
ed out, the critics panned it and were quick to
point out that the Beatles were indeed human
and it was possible for them to fail at
something, too. As usual the soundtrack was
brilliant and it included such classics as “The
Fool on the Hill” and “I Am the Walrus,”
but even that wasn’t enough to save the
The loss of Epstein was becoming more
and more noticeable as the Beatles began to
realize they knew nothing about how to han­
dle the business end of music. It was apparent
they needed some kind of tax shelter before
Her Majesty would deplete their entire bank
account. That shelter came in the form of the
Apple Corporation.
Apple was a corporation that dealt with
starving artists. Apple Records and Apple
Films were some of the subsidiaries that of­
fered funding for anybody who came in with
a cause or an idea. The problem with Apple
was that it gave away more money than it
took in. Consequently the Beatles lost
thousands of pounds every day on the ven­
ture. They needed somebody to come in and
straighten out their messed-up finances: Enter
Allen Klein.
Klein had handled some lucrative
business dealings for the Rolling Stones thus
Lennon was impressed. He was certain Klein
could straighten out their money problems.
But McCartney was skeptical. He wanted
somebody he knew and trusted. Demands for
a new record prevented any further discussion
on the matter, therefore it was dropped and
Apple continued to rob the Beatles blind.
Back in the studio a definite change was
noted. Apathy among all members made
working as a group a near-impossibility. Har­
rison complained about not ever getting any
of his songs on the albums, and John was
more interested in a young Japanese artist
named Yoko Ono. It was Paul who took over
as leader of the deteriorating group.
The end result of those recording sessions
was a two-record set packaged only in plain
white and titled simply “The Beatles” (White
Album). This album was different in the sense
that it wasn’t a group effort. It was three
Wednesday, February 15,1984
musicians backing up whoever happened to be
singing the lead. It was also the first album
released on Apple Records.
By the end of the year, the arguing
within the group was virtually non-stop. Mon­
ey problems continued to arise and a new
manager still couldn’t be found. By now Mc­
Cartney was dating a photographer named
Linda Eastman. Her father and brother ran a
prominent law firm and McCartney was sure
they’d be perfect to manage the Beatles. But
by now, Lennon had convinced the other two
that Klein was the right choice. It was three
to one but both parties stood firm. Eventually
Klein stepped in but McCartney refused to
take part in any group decisions he made.
The battles that had taken place outside
of the studio made working together in the
studio even tougher. Filmed scenes of record­
ing sessions in the studio that were shown in
the “Let It Be” documentary, witness cons­
tant bickering between McCartney and Har­
rison. Furthermore, the steadfast presence of
Yoko Ono symbolized Lennon’s swaying
devotion from the group.
Finally, something had to be done.
Although they had never broken up it was ob­
vious they could no longer function as a
group. Lennon was making other albums with
Yoko Ono and Paul, the one who had tried
so hard for so long to keep the band together,
was discussing with his new in-laws how to go
about suing to dissolve the partnership.
It was then, on that April day in 1970,
when every newspaper across the country
splashed the headlines, “McCartney Sues
Beatles,” that the break-up was considered
official. It was a sad day, for it not only end­
ed the most popular rock group of all time, it
also ended an era.
In the 10 years that followed the break­
up, people speculated on what it would be
like if the Beatles ever decided to perform
together again. Would the magic still be
there? Unfortunately, with the recent killing
of John Lennon, that dream and hope of
them one day performing together and re­
kindling that spark was shattered. Looking
back 20 years to when the Beatles first set
foot on American soil and how they shook
the entire nation and the entire world, you
realize one thing: Beatlemania will live
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