Overall, a funny film that recalls many of the comedic movies from the 1980s.
Some of Robin Williams humor was pretty bad.
I resisted seeing RV in the theater because the movie seemed like something that would make me want to hang myself. Then everyone I knew said how entertaining and funny the film was, so I figured there must be something to it. After that, it started raking in the cash on DVD and when I was asked to review the film, I was excited because I finally was getting a chance to see what all the hoopla was about.
Robin Williams plays Bob Munro. A man whose wife Jamie (Cheryl Hines), daughter Cassie (JoJo) and son Carl (Josh Hutcherson) no longer see him as the "father figure" he once was. Everyone seems to have their own lives and when Bob is called upon to go to Colorado to save a deal (and his job), he cancels his family's trip to Hawaii, packs them into an RV sets off on a cross country odyssey. Along the way they have the usual growing pains adjusting to the RV, the people they meet on the road (namely the Gornicke family headed by Jeff Daniels), but this is one of those movies where family bonding occurs in spite of itself and everything works out fine in the end. Mostly.
Overall, RV was a funny, lighthearted movie that shows a soft side of Robin Williams with a slight edge.
Director Barry Sonnenfeld introduces this gag reel which features all the actors and actresses blowing their lines or messing up in various ways. The jewel of this crown is actually getting to see Robin Williams riff on a mistake. What surprised me the most was how open he was to the jokes of others. Usually, he holds the show (which he does do here), but I enjoyed seeing him take a moment to appreciate the comic antics of others.
The Kosher Cowboy
Barry Sonnenfeld essentially gets "roasted" here by the cast. They talk about working with him and how his look on this movie was that of a cowboy. We see him in various outfits always donning a cowboy hat. In fact, Jeff Daniels even wrote a song about him. What I think was the most interesting was the fact that he didn't really seem out of his element acting this way. Overall, I think he is a unique, comic director that works well with others because he embraces his foibles.
JoJo: The Pop Princess
For someone who hadn't done a ton of acting, Joanna "JoJo" Levesque was really good here. This featurette examines her as a singer who is now branching out into doing acting. I have to admit she really impressed me. She was funny but she also seemed to have a good handle on the more dramatic aspects of this film. I think it will be interesting to see what she does after this and I think she has a good chance to transition nicely from tween icon to adult actress.
Again, Barry Sonnenfeld relates this movie to some aspect of his youth. Namely he discusses the trips he used to take with his family and how everyone would be yelling, screaming or crying. The cast also talks about what they learned doing this movie. How there are really people who buy an RV and make their lives in them. How that is possible I have no idea, but I guess with the internet, home schooling and other modern conveniences, it's probably a lot easier than it used to be.
Robin Williams: A Family Affair
I am not sure how necessary this featurette is because all the information seemed to be covered in other areas of this disc. The cast sits back and discusses working with Robin Williams. This is then broken up with Williams riffing around like a maniac. We find out how nice he is, how much fun he is and how much encyclopedic information he has stored up in his head. I guess that probably accounts for why he is still relevant today.
The Scoop on Poop
Yet another featurette on this DVD that I am not sure needs to exist. In a nutshell, this is a more than adequate breakdown of how Barry Sonnenfeld pulled off the "crap geyser" scene that took place in this movie. Why they felt the need to highlight this? I have no idea. Having traveled across country in a bus with a bathroom, the general rule of thumb is that we would never use it unless we only had to tinkle. Apparently, when you travel by RV, you may or may not follow that rule.
Done with a telestrator, we get Barry Sonnenfeld having fun as he talks about making this movie. He stops the film, points things out with the telestrator marker, and gives us an overall view of this movie and things we probably didn't already know. Personally, as whiny as his voice is, I rather enjoy hearing it. While I wish Robin Williams would have done this with him, I think that might have made this track devolve into madness.
Titled "Kung Fu Master," this scene is just another version of a scene in which Bob Munro stands up for his son Carl. I can see why they chose to go another way. While this is certainly funny, I don't think that it would have had the effect that Bob's other speech had. On top of that, it makes Williams seem sort of hokey and by that point in the film, he's gained a lot more ground with his family and himself.
Featuring Jamie, Cassie and Carl this is an individual scene (in the film they are all cut together) in which we see these characters sing a song. Nothing too special, but it seems like they wanted to go out with the extras they had. This is certainly worth a look, but I don't know that you need to watch all of it.
Storyboard to Film Comparisons
They have put five of these on this disc. The storyboards themselves are very large, while the movie itself is small. With titles like "Sewage Dump" and "Bus Chase," I was amazed how intricately they drew out each scene. I guess I don't think that comedies would get that technical in this department, but it seems I am wrong. They even drew out the movement of the people in the background!
Full Screen - 1.33:1. At first I thought I must have put the disc in wrong because the movie was in full screen. Then I looked at the DVD cover and saw the words "Full Screen" across the top of it and I new that the mistake wasn't mine. Oh well, it's not like we're talking about a Stanley Kubrick film, right? RV is a fun filled, family movie that means to do nothing but entertain and make viewers laugh. The picture was crystal clear and the compression as solid as one might hope.
Dolby Digital. English and French 5.1 and Dolby Digital. Subtitled in English and French. Mastered in High Definition. Close Captioned. The audio in this film was really nothing special. Not that I think something is lacking or that it was compressed too much, I just don't think that this is the kind of film you would use to take your sound system out for a test run. It is what it is and as long as it gets all the jokes across I think that that's all we can really ask, right?
The Munro family is featured on this front cover and behind them we see their RV teetering on a mountain top. These seems to be a mix of the different one sheets this movie employed when it was released theatrically. There is a lot of red employed here with the upper portion of the DVD featuring a big shot of Williams, and some very small pictures of the cast. There is also a description of what this movie is about, a Special Features listing, a cast list and some technical specs.
This film reminded me a lot of National Lampoon's Vacation. Although RV is a lot more family friendly than that film, this movie had some interesting laughs and, even if it did seem like it was trying too hard to appeal to the Gen X audience, overall I laughed a lot and thought that all the actors and actresses had brought their A-games. It was a little jarring seeing Cheryl Hines play someone other than Cheryl David, but she didn't imbue this character with anything that different than how she plays the aforementioned character on Curb Your Enthusiasm.
At times I thought Hines and Williams knew they were beyond this material, I still think that RV has it's heart in the right place and is a lot of fun for families to enjoy.