Starring: Robin Williams, Cheryl Hines, Jeff Daniels, JoJo, Josh Hutcherson, Kristin Chenoweth, Will Arnett
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Following in the time-honored tradition of Robin Williams family movies that suck, “RV” can be summed up in three simple words: big rolling turd. The following description is a godsend, actually, since I would have never thought of it had it not been used by the film’s characters several times. Of course, they’re using it as a means of discussing the big, hulking motor vehicle they’ve rented for summer vacation, while I’ve reserved this special term of endearment for my feelings about this so-called comedy. And unless you’re making a movie about a thirtysomething, always-stoned video game developer (“Grandma’s Boy”) or a misconstrued love story about John Smith and Pocahontas (“The New World”), 2006 couldn’t ask for a worse contribution to cinema.
Apparently Tim Allen, Eddie Murphy and Steve Martin were all too busy to jump onboard the “RV,” but fellow I-can’t-believe-you’re-making-this-crap comedian Robin Williams takes the dive as soda corporation exec Bob Munro, a family man whose lost touch with his two kids (played by pop singer JoJo and Josh Hutcherson) ever since he’s begun to rise the ranks within his company. His germaphobic boss Todd (Will Arnett) is almost too reliant on Bob as his go-to guy, so when a big merger meeting threatens to interrupt his family trip, Bob changes the location from the sandy beaches of Hawaii to the great outdoors of Colorado where, coincidentally, the meeting is set to take place.
Renting an RV to take on the journey from California to Colorado, the rest of the Munro family are none too pleased over the situation, including Bob’s wife Jamie (Cheryl Hines), who was hoping to kick back and relax in Hawaii. Instead, the Munros are socially bombarded by an RV-loving family (led by Jeff Daniels, Kristin Chenoweth and her cleavage) only a few chords shy of a Partridge Family revival, and though their overly friendly intentions appear harmless, they’re treated like a bunch of crazy hicks by the Munro clan. Various wilderness-themed set pieces follows, as does a string of jokes about shit that just aren’t funny. Very, very disgusting, but not funny.
What’s truly upsetting about the film isn’t how excruciatingly painful it is to watch, but rather director Barry Sonnenfeld’s happy-go-lucky misuse of talent. With great comedic up-and-comers like Hines and Arnett, and veterans like Williams and Daniels, this movie should have been a slam dunk. It’s not like the potential wasn’t there, either. In fact, the first five minutes really offered some great laughs before turning to the big rolling turd for the remainder of the film. So what have we learned from this lesson? Don’t cast Robin Williams in any more family comedies? Perhaps. Take away Barry Sonnenfeld’s DGA card? That would certainly be a step in the right direction, but no. How about this? Cheap laughs only go so far. The rest is up to good writing, and unfortunately, “RV” doesn’t have any.
The single-disc DVD release of "RV" features cast/crew commentary, five production featurettes, a story-to-film comparison and a short gag reel, but that still doesn't make this movie worth seeing.