Friday, April 28, 2006

RV There Yet?


Took the kids to a sneak preview of RV, the new Robin Williams family flick.

I laughed. A lot.

That's all.

RV is as much fun as you would expect a Robin Williams fish-out-of-water movie would be. It's also utterly inconsequential.

This is Williams stepping onto the same path that Chevy Chase, Billy Crystal, Steve Martin, Tim Allen, and Eddie Murphy have travelled.

It's the next step in the Hollywood aging process: First, you're a hot-shit, hot shot comedian, and in the space of a few decades you go from hip and irreverent to bad hips and irrelevant. From countercultural comedian to father-figure actor.*

They're all five years from 'All-Star Tribute' TV special status.

In this installment, Williams plays Bob Munro, an executive VP at a globalized soft-drink company who's lost touch with his family. His boss, a germophpobic sociopath (played exactly like you'd think Will Arnett would play him, because he does) forces Bob to give up his family vacation to Hawaii to help him take over a soda company located in Boulder Colorado. The boss plays up the fact that he's hired a geekly little Harvard MBA that's being groomed to take his place.

His home life's not much better, what with his teen-age daughter rarely talking to him except in insulting terms, his pre-teen son heavy into lifting weights and establishing his gangsta street cred, and his long-suffering wife who just wants him to communicate.

But rather than communicate, Bob decides to rent an RV to take his family to Boulder. He sells it as a camping adventure, without telling them about the meeting.

The grumpy family goes along. They meet a wholesome family (headed by Jeff Daniels, as a salt-of-the-earth Texan). Along the way, they realize that they actually do care about each other, and that family is the most important thing, while utterly destroying a $75,000 motor home.**

I successfully predicted every single thing that happened in the film. You can too, if you watch the trailer for it. Do I need to tell you that the Colorado soft-drink company is run by two hippies? Do I need to tell you that the sons of the two families fall in love with the daughters of the opposite families? Do I need to tell you that the yee-haw Texans are actually far smarter than you are originally led to believe?

Didn't think so.

But if you set your mind in neutral and just watch the slapstick action, it's actually a lot of fun. Williams is far more restrained than he could be in this flick, which adds to the humor. I think he's realizing that less CAN be more.

Bottom line: this is standard fare, but well paced, and the characters are all pretty well fleshed out. It's obvious that a lot of the plot was left on the edit room floor to make room for the slapstick, but that's ok. People don't go to these sorts of movies for engaging story lines...just enough of a narrative to move from one mishap to another.

If you've had a hard week, and you just want to relax with your kids while having a good laugh and cramming popcorn into your mouth, go see it.

You'll laugh. That's all.


Yeharr

*One thing that bothers me about all of these flicks: the father figure is almost invariably portrayed as an ultra-successful, seven-figure-salary sort of guy. Why is that? Why don't they try doing movies about middle-class families?
**I guess it's a good thing he's ultra-successful after all.

5 Comments:

Blogger Notsocranky Yankee said...

I saw Robin Williams on the Daily Show the other night and he was pretty funny. He was also able to comment/joke about issues that he couldn't on other channels and he seemed to like that. I noticed he was "calmer" than usual, which a relief. Sometimes I just want to say "Stop! Take a breath!" when I watch him.

Cheryl Hines does a good job opposite Larry David on his show so I imagine she's good in the supporting role as well.

Thanks for the review. (Love the title!)

5:09 AM  
Blogger Colleen said...

hmmm...i think i'll wait for netflix. there's just nothing good out there i want to spend a small fortune to see

1:39 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

I'm glad to hear that the aging father bit is suiting Williams well. I really didn't care for his psychopathic side from One Hour Photo. Still gives me the creeps.

9:45 PM  
Blogger Hamel said...

YOu know what bothers me about flicks now? All the "kids'" movies feel the need to throw in something to entertain the adults. Give me a break.

7:03 AM  
Blogger Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

I'm off on The Big Adventure!

See you on the other side!

5:54 PM  

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