It's hard to really hate "Girl From Rio". Equally, it's hard to credit it with a redeeming feature. It's hard, in fact, to give a damn about this listless and muddled - for want of a better term - "romantic comedy".
Irritation starts early - in the animated opening credits, where the score clashes machinegun samba beats with a pastiche of the "High Noon" theme.
Raymond (Hugh Laurie) is a beancounter in a buttondown British bank, who seeks refuge from his heartless wife by teaching samba classes at Eastminster University. When his missus buggers off with his boss (Patrick Barlow, who does vile well), our Ray decides 'nuffs enough, clears the vault and does a runner to Rio de Janeiro.
There, he hooks up with a lardy cabbie (Santiago Segura) and goes in search of the girl of his dreams, top dancer Orlinda (Vanessa Nunes). Naturally, his money attracts some unfortunate attention...
But not the audiences'. Watches are likely to be the second most-watched element in theatres playing this witless pap. Behind Nunes' legs. She's a model/TV-presenter-turned-actress and all that that implies: bubbly, beautiful, blissfully unaware her performance is pitiable.
Christopher Monger's script takes a workable scenario and goes nowhere with it, attempting Ealing whimsy without characters or story. It could play like "The Lavender Hill Mob" meets "City of God". Instead, it's a long sigh meets a gaping yawn.
There's a brief (30 second) high point (when a ventilator shaft rains money on the poverty-stricken city) and one good line ("You mustn't take it personally. I think he just doesn't like you"), but mostly you're likely to echo the sentiment of Laurie's hapless schmuck: "Maybe my imagination is limited, but I'm finding it hard to see how it could be worse."