There has to be a clause in the contract of Robin Williams that forces filmmakers to include a scene during which Williams gets to do a stand-up routine to keep himself polished lest his acting career suddenly vanish. Apparently, this is a guy who considers acting a subtle form of moonlighting.
In "R.V." this situation occurs right at the end of the film when Bob Munro (Williams) gives a presentation to a small soft drink company on behalf of his boss, Todd Mallory (Will Arnett). After traveling across the country with his wife, Jamie (Cheryl Hines) and kids Cassie (Joanna Levesque) and Carl (Josh Hutcherson) and approaching the precipice of insanity, Bob rolls on in to Colorado and makes a pitch to a local soda company that seems reminiscent of something I once saw on one of Williams's HBO specials.
I suppose I'll do something out of character and give this film some love: it's about ten times better than I expected. Unfortunately, everyone knows what happens when you multiply by zero. Seriously, who else watched the trailer, saw Williams, Hines, and an RV, and had a nightmare flashback to one of the "Vacation" sequels? If you ask me, Williams is only a couple of bad comedies away from being the next Chevy Chase and disappearing into the vortex that is a career made up of either movie cameos, hosting game shows like "Deal or No Deal", or hocking life insurance.
The idea of "R.V" isn't exactly novel. Bob finds himself choosing between his family and his career and he's starting to become paranoid that life is passing him by. In avoiding that choice, Bob shirks a trip to Hawaii at the insistence of his boss, purchases an RV, and hits the road while trying to keep two secrets. He doesn't want the family to know he's working and he doesn't want his boss to know he's on a family vacation.
What happens on the road plays like every road comedy ever made. Things go wrong with the RV, mostly having to do with the septic system. The wrong road is taken. Hicks are met. Ah yes, the hicks. These are played by Jeff Daniels, Kristin Chenoweth, and some child actors as "the precocious children". They sing. They impart country wisdom. They smile in the face of ridicule and rejection. All that's missing is the hicks skinning Williams and Hines for their meat and using Cassie and Carl for live target practice.
Frankly, I doubt even those dumb, ol' hicks would have had the patience to sit through "R.V.".
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