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DVD/Blu-ray of the week: 'Rio'

Update (08/08): According to Fox, 'Rio' swiftly became "the best-selling family title ever released on DVD and Blu-ray in August."

Who says warm-weather movies should be at least medium cool? "Hot Wings (I Wanna Party)" is the number that best sums up "Rio," the riotously beautiful musical-comedy cartoon released on home video today. And it's delivered by will.i.am in the role of a hip-hopping red-crested cardinal.

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"Rio" boasts a propulsive plot about two love-and-hate birds, the neurotic, domesticated Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) and the wild, independent Jewel (Anne Hathaway), who must mate to perpetuate the blue-macaw species. But what makes the movie a delight is its loving fantasy of carnival season in Rio de Janeiro (and, really, Brazil in general).

When director Carlos Saldanha isn't choreographing jungle creatures and urban animals into chorus lines fit for a samba version of "Chicago," he's putting together cliff-hanging aerial adventures that rival those in "Avatar." These two kinds of scenes work together: dance becomes a metaphor for flight, and vice-versa -- for Blu they become the measure of how comfortable he feels in his own feathers.

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"Rio" offers just what a lot of families need right now: a vision of a sweltering climate that actually energizes people -- and animals, and birds -- and gets them to shake their tails. It's brightly colored and high-spirited and pop-arty in a good way. Even if you're way beyond the target audience, it makes you think of childhood things, like hula hoops and Froot Loops.

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