Having recently written Disney’s remake of The Shaggy Dog, Geoff Rodkey now unsubtly revisits National Lampoon’s Vacation with RV, a so-called comedy in which a hammy Robin Williams is routinely humiliated—and pokes fun at Middle American hicks—while driving cross-country in a gigantic motor home. Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld with the same amount of wit and style that characterized Wild Wild West—i.e. not much—the film concerns Bob Munro (Williams), a soda corporation executive who, fearful that his germaphobic boss (Will Arnett) is going to replace him with a younger employee, agrees to ditch his Hawaii vacation plans to attend a meeting in Colorado. To ensure that his distant wife (Cheryl Hines) and bratty kids (pop singer JoJo and Zathura‘s Josh Hutcherson) still enjoy a holiday getaway, Bob rents an enormous RV and tells the family that they’re headed for the Rocky Mountains, a journey that eventually involves such unfunny sights as Bob drenched by a geyser of fecal matter and a country-singing clan (led by Jeff Daniels and Kristin Chenoweth’s prominent cleavage) who are treated like trailer-park trash by the rich, condescending Murnos. Rubbish is also what you might label RV, a torturous jaunt characterized by lowbrow, low-rent farce (usually involving fart noises and/or Williams being physically hurt) and perfunctory story arcs (the son weight lifts because he’s insecure about his size, the daughter thinks Dad is uncool, yada yada yada). Were it not for the sorriness of every flaccid gag or unearned sentimental moment, I’d be more inclined to chastise Sonnenfeld for reuniting two Arrested Development alums—Arnett and a briefly seen Tony Hale—and then totally squandering any opportunity to let them share meaningful screen time. Or, at least, I’d be apt to use one of the characters’ quotes as a means of criticizing the film (“I could actually throw up from how bored I am” or “Bob, I’m hating this” would both suffice). But the entire endeavor feels so depressingly feeble and middling that the primary emotion elicited is simply pity for Robin Williams, who’s saddled with the formidable task of trying to make something from nothing and—as with an extended urban-slang riff that’s leave-the-theater awful—winds up with nothing.
- Columbia Pictures
- 98 min
- Barry Sonnenfeld
- Geoff Rodkey
- Robin Williams, Cheryl Hines, JoJo, Josh Hutcherson, Jeff Daniels, Kristin Chenoweth, Hunter Parrish, Chloe Sonnenfeld, Alex Ferris, Will Arnett
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