Monday, May 15, 2006


RV (Barry Sonnenfeld, 2006)

In an effort to keep his job Bob Munro (Robin Williams) cancels his family’s Hawaiian vacation and rents an RV for a road trip. His daughter Cassie (JoJo) and son Carl (Josh Hutcherson) can't think of a worse punishment than being cooped up with their parents, and his wife Jamie (Cheryl Hines) isn't crazy about giving up the beach. In RV Bob disguises the plan as a family bonding experience, not letting on that their destination just happens to be near where he and his mysophobic boss Todd Mallory (Will Arnett) have a business meeting.

Williams’ manic improvising has been his calling card for years. If his shtick wasn’t played out before RV, it is now. Whether mugging through the inevitable motor home sewer line clog or a mock gangsta speech to scare off some young toughs, Williams’ routine is a pale imitation of his better days. On top of that, the film’s family-friendly PG rating restrains him from uncorking a signature blue streak that might have freed him to be more creative.

Underlying RV is suburban guilt regarding consuming too much and working excessively to maintain the lifestyle. Unfortunately, like most of the films wrestling with prioritizing between family and finances—FUN WITH DICK AND JANE is a recent example—the message ultimately is that you can have your cake and eat it too.

RV travels the comic highways similar to those driven by NATIONAL LAMPOON’S VACATION’S Griswolds, but the insufferable Munros leave us wishing they’d befall a fate more like that of the stranded family in THE HILLS HAVE EYES.

Grade: D

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