Netflixable? “Carnaval” was never duller and less carnal than this Brazilian bore

How can a movie set in Brazil’s Carnival, the colorful, hedonistic Bacchanal held in the days leading up to every Ash Wednesday — unless there’s a global pandemic — come off as drab as “Carnaval?”

Colorful costumes, fruity drinks, gaudy clubs, concerts and raves can’t animate this Brazilian still-life of a comedy.

The shorthand for what we’re shown here is a “Girls’ Trip” to Bahia Salvador, a bay of resorts where the beautiful people and those lucky enough to be in their company congregate and party like Lent is coming. Because it is.

That’s where beautiful social influencer Nina (Giovana Cordeiro) hopes to grow her fanbase and join the big leagues, posting posting posting photos and videos to her “followers,” hoping they reach 1,000,000 in number so she’s more on a par with her idol, the gorgeous influencer/model Luana (Flávia Pavanelli).

Nina’s bringing along her pals — three “types.” Mayra (Bruna Inocencio) is the stunning, sensitive one, a veterinarian who doesn’t drink. Vivi (Samya Pascotto) is the cute nerd with the purple hair who brushes off guys with “Let me save you a little time” asking three questions. Answer them, and you get a kiss.

“What are the three Quidditch balls in the Harry Potter books?”

And Michelle (Gessica Kayne) is the Samantha in this sexless “Sex and the City,” a blowsy, busty flirt who kisses anything that shaves.

“You just grab them and kiss them,” she says of guys, demonstrating at every opportunity.

Shallow Nina, fresh off a public breakup that got her labeled “The Crossfit Cuckold” on Instagram, goes starstruck over Luana, and gets a LOT of attention from singing superstar Freddy (Micael Borges), who seems nice. Even Luana, set up to be a villain, is no worse than rude — never remembering Nina’s name, even when she’s giving her heartless advice.

“‘Friends,'” the super-influencer points out, “make us lose our focus.”

Nina has to learn the value of “friends” and what sort of men — NOT influencers — are worth getting to know.

Michelle has to discover what it feels like to fall in love, and not in list.

Mayra has to let her freak flag fly and Vivi must meet her soulmate, probably on the Quidditch fields of Brazil.

Deep. Still, it’s all harmless, if pretty much charmless.

MPA Rating: TV-MA, lots of skin and drinking and kissing, very tame otherwise

Cast: Giovana Cordeiro, Bruna Inocencio, Micael Borges, Gessica Kayane, Samya Pascotto and Flávia Pavanelli

Credits: Scripted and directed by Leandro Néri. A Netflix release.

Running time: 1:35

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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