RV is a film so bad in so many different ways that I can’t even really decide where to begin. The premise, which has been done hundreds of times before, borrows so liberally and directly from National Lampoon’s Vacation and 1988’s The Great Outdoors (the raccoon scene is acted out here in near real-time) that John Hughes could sue on the trailer alone. There is not an original anecdote to be found, but if you ever wanted to see Robin Williams get clobbered mercilessly by a geyser of human waste, then this is the film for you. Personally I think it is a fitting symbol of his career path.
Bob Munro (Williams) is a run-of-the-mill big business father. He has a loving, but semi-distant wife in Jamie (Hines), a wannabe-thug son, Carl (Hutcherson), and a completely whacked-out adolescent daughter, Cassie (JoJo). Bob’s promised to take the clan to Hawaii, but work has reared its ugly head. His boss, Todd (Will Arnett), has ordered him to be in Colorado the same week as the scheduled vacation to close a merger with a subsidiary. How to solve the problem? Rent an RV and convince the family that it’s a good idea, of course! Thus starts the week of hell for the Munro family, but none of it is funny or even remotely amusing – too bad for us.
Watching RV is like being dragged to dinner with a group of people, but only knowing one person in the group. There’s a lot of uncomfortable silence, attempts at humor, and general under-the-surface disdain. That the film strikes out in everything it has to offer is really quite a sight, as we’re forced to watch Robin Williams try to entertain us with PG-rated handcuffs. His impressions are embarrassingly bad and there’s certainly not anyone else in the cast to try and rise above the material.
Somehow Jeff Daniels got involved in this travesty, this time playing a happy-go-lucky good ol’ boy. His family, since they sing and wear jeans and live in a RV, is immediately tagged as illiterate hicks. Of course they turn out to be well-educated and make a decent amount of money, so that makes it okay to like them. That sums up the entire film’s material logic when it comes to acceptance, but at least it’s not given to us in IV drip form like other Williams sap fests. Tiresome bathroom humor runs rampant throughout in addition to downright creepy sexual innuendos that exist for no reason whatsoever.
It boggles my mind that people will still pony up ten bucks to see a movie they could rent for a quarter of the price that is superior in every way. Throwaway cinema of this kind, masquerading as a family-friendly good time, is flat-out insulting. This is frighteningly outdated formula film making at its worst.
Studio: Columbia Pictures
Length: 98 Minutes
Rating: PG for crude humor, innuendo and language.
Theatrical Release: April 28, 2006
Directed by: Barry Sonnenfeld
Written by: Geoff Rodkey
Cast: Robin Williams, Cheryl Hines, JoJo, Josh Hutcherson, Jeff Daniels, Kristin Chenoweth