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Blame it on Rio is a 1984 American romantic comedy film based on the 1977 French film "Un moment d'égarement."

It was directed by Stanley Donen and starred Michael Caine, Joseph Bologna, Michelle Johnson, Demi Moore, Jose Lewgoy and Valerie Harper.


Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about
the entire movie.

American businessman Victor Lyons (Joseph Bologna) and British-born entreprenour Matthew Hollis (Michael Caine) are best friends who work for a major corporation in São Paulo, Brazil & the two of them are having marriage issues: Victor's wife wants a divorce while Matthew's wife, Karen (Valerie Harper) wants to take a separate vacation.

Victor and Matthew decide to take a holiday in Rio de Janeiro with Victor's 16-year-old daughter, Jennifer (Michelle Johnson) and Matthew's 15-year-old daughter, Nikki (Demi Moore).

At the beach, Jennifer is told by her father to cover her bare breasts, but she refuses to. Instead, she drags her father and Nikki into the water to play. Matthew doesn't join them and seems uncomfortable with the partial nudity displayed by Jennifer and the other topless women on the beach.

A few nights later during a Brazilian wedding, Matthew gets drunk with Jennifer where she discloses to him that she has had a "crush" on him since she was a child. After they have sex on the beach, they embark on a secret sexual relationship.

Victor becomes furious when he finds out that there is an "older man" in Jennifer's life when he sneaks a peak at her diary and sets out to hunt down the mystery man. He expects Matthew to help. Matthew is reluctant to lead Victor on a wild goose chase, but he goes through with it out of fear to what Victor might do to him.

In private, Matthew tries to talk to Jennifer to end their secret affair before her father finds out, but she refuses to give him up. Meanwhile, Nikki learns that Jennifer is involved with her father, but despite her protests, Jennifer refuses to end it.

Victor and Matthew's persuit of Jennifer's "older man" leads them to a local nightclub, where Victor (who has a poor knowledge of the local Portuguese language) thinks that a cabaret singer who is singing a ballad about Jennifer who is in attendence, is flirting with her.

Victor attacks the singer on stage which causes a large bar room brawl. Matthew breaks up the fight and outside the nightclub, discloses the truth to his friend that he is Jennifer's secret lover. Oddly though, Victor is not quite as angry as Matthew expects.

When Karen shows up the next day, Victor reveals a secret that he has been keeping from Matthew all these years. It is soon discovered that Victor has been having an affair with Karen which is why the reason that she didn't join them on their vacation to put some distance between her and Victor.

Karen is also furious to learn about Matthew's involvement with Jennifer, but seems to accept it as some type of karma for her and Victor.

When the truth comes out, Jennifer attempts suicide by overdosing on birth control pills. She's rushed to the hospital and survives the suicide attempt.

At first, Karen and Nikki blame Matthew & then Victor's poor parenting skills for allowing Jennifer to slide down this path. That evening, Matthew and Victor are forced to share a bed for the night since Karen and Nikki want nothing to do with them anymore.

Victor and Matthew's close proximity leads to a major argument with both of them blaming each other for this turn of events. Their argument leads to a fistfight which leads to the two of them wrestling each other on the bed.

The fight comes to an end when their spiteful housekeeper walks in on them after hearing the noise and draws the wrong conclusion to what is happening.

In the end, the incident brings everyone closer: Karen & Matthew return to their home in New York to work on their marital problems, Jennifer begins dating a boy her own age and Victor re-marries his estranged wife.

The film ends with Matthew saying, "You only live once, but it does help if you get to be young twice."


  • Michael Caine as Matthew Hollis
  • Joseph Bologna as Victor Lyons
  • Michelle Johnson as Jennifer Lyons
  • Demi Moore as Nicole "Nikki" Hollis
  • Valerie Harper as Karen Hollis
  • José Lewgoy as Eduardo Marques
  • Lupe Gigliotti as Signora Botega
  • Nelson Dantas as Doctor


"Blame it On Rio" was shot on location in Rio de Janeiro.

The production dates took place from March 11th to December 10, 1983.

The filming dates took place from March 15th to April 29, 1983. The re-shoots took place from November 13th to December 10, 1983.

Director Stanley Donen referred to the production of this movie in Brazil as being "horrendous". He said that the film's principal photography was marred by excessive bureaucratic requirements for personal information for the very many cast and crew, the endless rainfall falling on days in which the forecast said otherwise and the late & even non-arrival of goods, products & services.

Because Michelle Johnson was 17 years old and reportedly two months out of high school when she got the part of Jennifer Lyons, special parental consent was required in order for her to do the nude scenes in the movie.


Box Office

"Blame It on Rio" debuted at #4 at the box office, grossing $3,437,660 during its opening weekend.

Domestically, the film grossed $18,644,570.

Critical Reception

"Blame it On Rio" was given a 9% approval rating based on 22 reviews with an average rating of 2.9\10 on Rotten Tomatoes and was given an audience rating of 40% with an average rating of 2.8\5.

Roger Ebert gave the movie one star, saying the film has "the mind of a 1940s bongo comedy and the heart of a porno film" and says that it was "clearly intended to appeal to the prurient interests of dirty old men of all ages".

Vincent Canby from the New York Times said "Blame It on Rio" was "not simply humorless. It also spreads gloom. It's one of those unfortunate projects that somehow suggests that everyone connected with the movie hated it and all of the other people involved".


1985 CVF Awards

  • Worst Picture: Stanley Donen and Bruce McNall (nominated)
  • Worst Original Song: Flying Down to Rio (nominated)
  • Worst Actor: Michael Caine (nominated)
  • Worst Actress: Demi Moore (nominated)
  • Worst Supporting Actor: Matthew Hollis (nominated)
  • Worst Supporting Actress: Michelle Johnson (nominated)
  • Worst Director: Stanley Donen (nominated)
  • Worst Screenplay: Charlie Peters and Larry Gelbart (nominated)
  • Worst Original Song: Blame It on Rio (won)

1985 Razzie Awards

  • Worst New Star: Michelle Johnson (nominated)

Theatrical Trailer


Blame It on Rio Trailer