Also Known As:RV: Runaway Vacation (Australia) (UK)
Chaoscamper RV, Die (Germany)
Recreational Vehicle (USA)
Joanna 'JoJo' Levesque
1 hr 39 mins
On DVD 08-15-2006
In Columbia Pictures' family-adventure comedy RV, an overworked Bob Munro (Robin Williams), his wife Jamie (Cheryl Hines), their 15-year-old daughter Cassie (Joanna "JoJo" Levesque) and 12-year-old son Carl (Josh Hutcherson) are in desperate need of some quality time together. After promising to take them on a family vacation in Hawaii, Bob abruptly changes plans without telling them. Instead of a week in a tropical paradise, they're going on a road trip to Colorado in a recreational vehicle.
Dragging his wife and kids kicking and screaming into the RV, Bob's togetherness plan (which is partly a ruse to keep him from losing his job) almost immediately hits a major speed bump. Everything that can go wrong, does. Bob's lame attempts to navigate the unwieldy, oversized vehicle are met with silence and scorn from his resentful family. The RV life is a far cry from their comfortable life in Los Angeles, and every attempt Bob makes to get them into the spirit of the vacation threatens to tear them further apart.
At an RV camp, the Munro family is befriended by the Gornicke family — an irritatingly endearing happy-go-lucky clan of full-time RVers. The more they try to elude the Gornickes, the more their paths seem destined to cross. But adversity has a way of uniting even the most dysfunctional family members and each setback the Munros experience inadvertently helps them become a true family again.
After suffering through Cheaper by the Dozen 1 and 2, Yours, Mine and Ours, and Daddy Day Care, my expectations for RV were extremely low. So color me surprised when Barry Sonnenfeld’s family comedy turned out to be a palatable picture that doesn’t rob Robin Williams of his dignity as a comic actor.
Williams plays Bob Munro, the patriarch of a family that’s been drifting apart. When his boss demands a business trip to Colorado, Dad sees an opportunity to pack his family into the close quarters of an RV for a bonding experience. Naturally, everything that can go wrong does go wrong until all ends well, but if you can accept the formula and brief lapses into kiddie-pandering extremity (a silly "waterslide" bit and an RV-surfing bit), RV is a good time at the movies.
Williams hasn’t been this appealing in a comedy in a decade (a bit of restraint becomes him), Cheryl Hines is dryly funny as his wife, and Jeff Daniels and Kristin Chenoweth are hilarious as the Flanders-esque parents of an annoyingly happy, Southern-fried family that lives on the road. Chenoweth's perky perfection compliments Daniels' alternating frozen smile and self-flagellating frown ("I was quick to think the worst," he confesses at one point. "I am filled with chagrin.") Meanwhile, Arrested Development fans will dig the appearances by Bluth brothers Will Arnett and Tony Hale.
RV is a fantasy, but it's engine is in the right place, and with its plug for responsible business practices and plea for a red state-blue state summit, it may even be just a little bit subversive. With a PG-rating, RV is both family-friendly and funny.