—2. Cast and Crew
—3. Photo Pages
—4. Trailers, Clips, DVDs
—5. Posters (Robin Williams)
—6. Production Notes (pdf)
—7. Spiritual Connections
—8. Presentation Downloads
Don’t call it a comeback ... no, really, don’t. R.V. is the first Robin Williams vehicle since his “dark Robin” phase (Insomnia, Death to Smoochy, and One Hour Photo), but a continuing lack of a silver screen presence would be better than this footnote in his movie career. Robin Williams movies only come in a few flavors: dramatic (Good Will Hunting), manic (Mrs. Doubtfire), and depressive (movies he simply should have known better than to do, like Being Human). R.V. is a depressive movie masquerading as a manic one.
Bob Munro (Robin Williams) heads the Munro clan, a family too busy to spend time with each other. They even IM (instant message) each other for dinner. With family time running out due to the kids going to college, they decide to vacation - seeking rest, relaxation, recuperation, and rekindling (of their relationships). They rent an R.V., which they dub the “Big Ole Turd,” rather than go to Hawaii, under the pretenses of spending time together (since Bob is trying to get work done). They bond through a series of travails: themselves, raccoons, the desert, the wacky R.V. community.
Was there a void left in the cinematic universe when the Chevy Chase Vacation series ended that I was now aware of? Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld (Get Shorty, Men in Black), R.V. comes from an impressive comedy pedigree. Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm) plays the dutiful wife and Will Arnett (from the late and much lamented sitcom gem, Arrested Development) plays his boss, but if you look closely, you can see the strains of desperation in their performances. Williams’ antics try to cover a weak script, but not even Houdini could distract from the belabored and repetitive sequences. For example, I didn’t know whether to be offended by the teen white suburban caricature adopting hip hop culture or feel sorry for the performer - sadly, one thing I didn’t do was laugh.
“We ain’t everyone’s cup of sunshine.” – Travis Gornicke (Jeff Daniels)
The Munros, more often than not, arere victims of their own unfriendliness. Technology has allowed them to isolate themselves even from one another. From laptops to Blackberrys to iPods, they don’t have to do anything with one another.
We say we want community, but we don’t really. We want that close circle of connection where one experiences a deep sense of belonging, acceptance, and love. That’s the lure of community, but we don’t want to do what it takes to achieve it. This myth of self-sufficient image may work for some, but we were not created to be islands of solitude. We’re born for relationships–be they family, friendships, or colleagues–and that is what shapes us (in fact, the absence of relationships also forms us). Learning community is a discipline. One of the toughest things within community is to learn the rhythm of other people. Doing stuff together, living life with one another, risks the chance of getting on one another’s nerves. People are messy, they have moods, they have quirks. We don’t always fit comfortably one with another, but that’s the price we pay to have what truly matters in life. A conclusion Bob Munro reaches when he proclaims “What you think about me is the most important thing in the world.”
Often crude (there is a near vomit inducing sewage disposal sequence), R.V. can’t decide what sort of movie it is: wacky family comedy or non-stop facile slapstick. So either you’ll find it pleasant, heart-warming, goofy fun, or you’ll be getting out of the way of a “big ole turd coming through.” It doesn't commit to either, nor build toward anything, so ridiculous, corny, and silly, with too few laughs, describes them both. Either way, go to this one with low expectations.