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RV (1/10)

by Tony Medley

Bob Hope was a comedian. He translated from stage to radio to screen seamlessly, funny in each venue. Robin Williams is a comedian who made his name on TV and as a standup. He has not translated from TV to screen seamlessly. In fact, I can count on the fingers of my right hand with my fist clenched the numbers of entertaining movies in which he has appeared.

“RV" is a good example. Any correlation between this movie and human intelligence is purely coincidental. In addition to being burdened by Williams and his poor record, the film is directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, whose record is just as dismal, with only one film that I even moderately enjoyed, “Men in Black.” The others were dispiriting, to say the least. They include “Men in Black II,”” Addams Family Values,” and “Wild, Wild West.” If this looks like a list of biggest disappointments of the decade, I need say no more.

“RV” follows in the same line. Bob Munro (Williams) heads a family of wife, Jamie (Cheryl Hines), bitchy daughter, Cassie (Joanna “JoJo” Levesque), and weight-lifting 10-year-old son, Carl (Josh Hutcherson). Bob digs his own grave by not trusting his wife, instead lying to keep them from finding out that the reason why he can’t take them on their Hawaiian vacation is that he has to go to Colorado to a conference or lose his job. Why he has to lie is not explained. It’s just a lame New Hollywood premise for a stupid movie.

And is this ever stupid! Bob rents an RV (surprise, surprise!), about which he knows nothing, to drive the family to Colorado on a vacation. The incidents that screenwriter Geoff Rodkey has devised aren’t even remotely funny. They are just idiotic. Williams is supposed to be a comedic genius. Can’t he read a script? Did he read this one? Couldn’t he determine from the printed page that this is not a funny movie?

Jeff Daniels and Kristin Chenoweth make the most of their poorly written parts as Travis and Mary Jo Gornicke, driving their own family in their own RV. Right down the New Hollywood path, the Gornicke’s are dissed until the Munros discover that they aren’t hayseeds, but are well-educated people, two of the children so smart that they skipped several grades in school. Oh, gee! That makes all the difference to our heroes, the Munroes! You’re smart! Wow! I really like you. If you were hayseeds, I wouldn’t like you. But, gee, you’re smart. We can make beautiful music together! That means more to the dopes who made this movie than their sweet nature and obvious good character. I would have liked this movie much more if the Gornickes had told the Munroes to go jump in the lake at the end.

This movie has done nothing to mute the idea that the names “Sonnenfeld” and “Robin Williams” are two very good reasons to avoid any movie associated therewith. This included.

April 25, 2006