Movie Review

R.V.

MPAA Rating: PG for crude humor, innuendo and language

Reviewed by: Keith P. Soencksen
CONTRIBUTOR

Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Family
Genre:
Adventure, Comedy, Family
Length:
1 hr. 38 min.
Year of Release:
2006
USA Release:
April 28, 2006 (wide)
Copyright, Columbia Pictures
Copyright, Columbia Pictures
Copyright, Columbia Pictures
Copyright, Columbia Pictures
Copyright, Columbia Pictures
Copyright, Columbia Pictures
Copyright, Columbia Pictures
Copyright, Columbia Pictures
Copyright, Columbia Pictures
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Featuring: Robin Williams, Kristin Chenoweth, Cheryl Hines, Jeff Daniels, Will Arnett, Tony Hale, Jojo Levesque, Joanna Levesque
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld (“Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events”)
Producer: Bobby Cohen, Lucy Fisher, Douglas Wick
Distributor: Columbia Pictures

“On a family vacation, no one can hear you scream.”

Copyrighted, Columbia PicturesRV is the kind of movie you go to when you’re looking for a good laugh at the expense of the unfortunate family portrayed in the film, who endure untold mishaps upon mishaps. It delivers several very funny moments, but viewers must endure a seemingly endless line of crudeness (occasionally to the point of disgusting), rudeness, and immodesty along the way.

Synopsis

Robin Williams plays Bob Munro, the high-ranking executive of a large soda beverage firm. Disaster first strikes as the family attends an office party, resulting in Munro almost getting fired. His continued employment, says his boss, is conditioned upon Bob attending meetings in Colorado aimed at acquiring the smaller Alpine Soda Company. Unfortunately, the business meetings coincide with a planned family vacation to Hawaii, plans which Bob must now carefully change in such a way as to meet the expectations of both his boss and his family, without either of them knowing about the other. He hastily invents the concept of an RV trip to Colorado, and although his wife and kids are far less than enthused, they embark onto one painful misfortune after another. Bob’s wife Jamie (Cheryl Hines), 15-year old daughter Cassie, and 12-year old son Carl hold back nothing in expressing their displeasure with the trip throughout most of the movie.

Early in their journey, the Munro’s happen upon the Gornicke family, an odd couple with 3 children, who are expert, full-time RV’ers. Travis (Jeff Daniels) and Mary Jo (Kristin Chenoweth) seem to have it all together, though in a geeky sort of way, and from the start, the Munro’s try to distance themselves. Predictably, the Gornicke’s seem to show up at every turn, much to the chagrin of the Munro’s.

A series of calamities (some are rather gross, most are fantastically unrealistic) involving everything from raw sewage, to raccoons, to bad brakes, and bad weather eventually drive the Munro family to their knees. Meanwhile, Bob is struggling to please his boss via secret, but unreliable e-mail traffic. In the end, Bob realizes that trying to please both his family and his boss just won’t work. He opts for his family, who all pull together in the end. But because of the high level of dysfunction displayed throughout the story, the somewhat touching ending is not believable.

Troubling Issues

Perhaps most troubling is that the entire premise of the Munro’s fateful trip is founded upon a gigantic lie, perpetrated by Bob, which places career ahead of family. This is later justified as being ultimately for the family’s materialistic best interests when Bob says, “I have to get to that meeting or I lose my job and we lose a lifestyle.” Luke 12:15 and Proverbs 23:4 are only two of dozens of verses that speak loudly against greed, covetousness, and materialism. Though he comes to his senses late in the movie, it’s a little too late to be plausible, and genuine repentance doesn’t seem to be there. Beyond this, there is repeated dishonesty and deception throughout: faking illness to his boss and family, lying to the Gornicke’s as a means of avoiding them, etc.

Next would be all the nasty bickering within the Munro family, especially the almost extreme disrespect shown by the children toward each other and their father. References are made to Cassie giving Bob the finger, they lie often, speak with utter contempt for each other and their father, display complete selfishness, and all this without consequence. We can safely assume these kids have rarely been disciplined, and have never heard of the fifth commandment.

Though nudity and strong sexuality are absent, immodesty is rampant (1 Timothy 2:9), particularly in the character of Mary Jo Gornicke, who showed cleavage in every shot—male viewers will be distracted. Although society considers this desirable, Jesus said, “Anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery in his heart” (Matt 5:28). It’s a very high standard, but one we must not yield on. Cassie Munro’s wardrobe is not as bad, but not modest by any stretch.

The Gornickes are clearly portrayed as quirky, out-of-touch, and basically obnoxious. What’s troubling about this is a vague identification of this family with Christianity. At one point, the scantily-clad Mary Jo is talking to the Munros, who are frantically trying to get away from them. She says, “Can I tell you about the time Jesus saved us from a tornado?!” With this, the Munro’s are that much more desperate to escape the conversation. This tie to Christianity, however brief, ultimately comes down to little more than mockery. The Gornicke kids are also home schooled, which draws a sarcastic “Ooohhhh” reaction from the Munro’s, who seem to have written them off as wackos.

Bottom Line

This is a predictable yet fairly entertaining movie, but its only redeeming quality is soundly outweighed by negatives. None of these negatives, by themselves, are overly oppressive, but the combination of them all earns “RV” the overall assessment of “Offensive” in my view, though some may find that an over-reaction. In truth, the morality rating ranges somewhere between “Offensive” and “Average.” Bob’s overemphasis on career only changes in the final 15 minutes, and is overshadowed by numerous instances of sexual immodesty, arrogant, dishonoring teenagers, and an annoying level of mild cursing (b*tch, a**, Oh my God!). The entire plot is founded on Bob deceiving his family into a trip with ulterior motives. This is definitely not a movie for kids—impressionable teens may be influenced by the worldly character of this film.

Violence: None / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Mild


Viewer Comments
Positive
Positive—My husband and I saw this movie with another Christian couple and we all loved it! It was so refreshing to see a film that wasn’t blatantly against Christ. The only thing I found offensive was the unnecessarily revealing wardrobes of the actresses. Otherwise, I enjoyed it and laughed throughout the whole film. The family seemed very realistic to me, with each having their own uniquely funny quirks. I think this is an area where some Christian-labeled films are lacking, having cheesy and unrealistic plots and characters. While “RV” isn’t Christian-labeled, it does hold some good family values. I also thought Robin Williams was very clean and funny, and did an excellent job playing a patient and hard-working dad trying to do the right things for his family. With all the trash in Hollywood today, it was nice to see such a light-hearted family comedy. I highly recommend it.
My Ratings: Average / 4
—Kristy, age 26
Positive—I just viewed R.V. with my wife and another couple, and I have to say that I almost didn’t make it through the first five minutes. I was laughing so hard that I couldn’t even look at the screen. For those who have seen the movie, it’s the part where the family is just leaving home on their RV trip and Robin Williams is trying to put on his seat belt (which is stuck) while they are moving. My only comment at that time was “If it keeps going like this, I’ll never make it to the end of the movie.”

I have never RV’d, but avid RV’ers will probably enjoy this film even more than I did, in particular the waste tank dump scene… There was a little more cleavage shown than would be acceptable in some circles—by the wife of the other RV’ing couple that the Williams family was trying to avoid, but it perfectly fit the “ditsy wife” character of this “good old boy” family.

There are plenty of unbelievable scenes that can only happen in the movies, but they only add to the non-stop humor in this film. There was no major profanity but the “name” the Williams kids gave the R.V. may offend some more sensitive viewers. I didn’t hear anything that I wouldn’t expect to hear in just about any family back yard when neither Mom nor Dad are present.

There were, I think, four positive object lessons brought out in the film. They were 1) Your job is never more important than your time with your family; 2) Never lie to others about why you are doing something nice for them; 3) Physical stature isn’t everything… but heart is, and, 4) Sometimes people are a lot more intelligent than they look.

If you want to see a film that will kill your desire to ever go RV’ing and provide you with a laugh a minute for a good 90 minutes, then spend your seven dollars and go see R.V. Oh yes, and don’t forget to roll up your side awning before leaving the R.V. campground.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—John Nyhuis, age 63
Positive—…There isn’t a lot of bad language in it. There is a little cleavage, but not much that I remember. As far as the making out goes, it is barely mentioned except for the brother being nausea by it. …The dad is made out to be a dork… and what dad isn’t? What teenager doesn’t think their dad is a dork? But the movie has great morals. It’s all about family spending time together, not worshipping money, respect for your dad, loving your kids, job integrity, and a few other morals as well. I thought it was funny too. Because of the septic waste, I don’t advise seeing it as a date movie.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 3
—Erik Petersen, age 30
Positive—This movie is absolutely hysterical. I found myself laughing out loud many times. However, since this is a Christian review, I will say there are moral issues. The attire of most of the women is poor, and there are a couple of expletives that are somewhat shocking when you hear them (b* word and full statement of sob phrase).
My Ratings: Offensive / 5
—Wesley, age 42
Positive—I saw this in the theater with my husband and my mom. Although it was extremely predictable, we really enjoyed it. It’s a shame that the inappropriately dressed woman was associated with Christianity, but the fact is, we all struggle with sin. This is not a Christian movie, it’s really hard to find one that’s not offensive in one way or another. The main reason I liked this movie is because I identified with the dad, who’s kids wanted nothing to do with him. Unfortunately, one of my kids went through this stage full throttle while one is currently going through it, but not quite so bad. It’s a hard and frustrating situation to be in, and it was nice to be able to laugh about it.

My favorite line was, “Dad, I get it. Sometimes to be successful, you have to do whatever they want, I get it” (or something along those lines). The actress played that line so well, it seems incredibly sincere. She was saying she understood her dad finally—but dad realized he’d been teaching her the wrong thing all along at this exact moment. Like I said, predictable, but entertaining nonetheless.
My Ratings: Average / 3
—Stephanie, age 37
Positive—I saw this film with my 72 year old mom. She and I sat in the very back row and laughed so hard we couldn’t breath at times. It was SOOOO refreshing to watch a silly movie that didn’t make me feel like I was compromising my Christian faith. It was just plain hilarious and also touching how the family was brought together through it all. If you want to see a silly, funny movie—go see “RV”.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—Kim, age 44
Positive—“RV: Runaway Vacation” ostensibly stars Robin Williams, but the real star is a huge “recreational vehicle” the size of a bus, which stressed-out senior business exec, Bob Munro (Williams), rents for a fortnight away on a family holiday. This overgrown camper van has mainly negative features, such as being almost impossible to steer, the brakes not working and the pipes being blocked with 40 years of sewage.

All of which provides opportunity for countless moments of slapstick, as Bob tries to steer this unwieldy vehicle through a scene without crying or trashing most of the scenery around him. He is the hapless straight man in a series of hilarious caravan gags that include stink bombs, raccoons in the oven, cliff tops and fountains of sewage.

Bob’s difficulties don’t just lie with the vehicle but with his recalcitrant family who definitely do not want to swap a holiday in Hawaii for Bob’s dream family romance. His spoilt kids—the very embodiment of teenage hormones and biting sarcasm—hate recreational vehicles (they invent a very rude name for this one!) and his wife (Cheryl Hines) grinds her large white teeth in disgust at her husband’s inept attempts to tame the huge monster he has rented.

Into the middle of this step the Gornicke family, a tribe of evangelical Christian hillbillies, who keep plucking the Munros out of trouble despite the latter’s snooty attempts to avoid them. The father, played by Jeff Daniels, is the chief cameo—big, generous and funny—never more so than when he’s hosing Bob down after a blocked drain has suddenly exploded and covered the helpless townie with raw sewage.

In spite of being presented as slightly wacky, the film shows the Christian family in a very positive light. They are cheerful, fun-loving, helpful, good-hearted and—the Munros find out—the ones who actually have it all together, both as a family and as individual people. Bob and his family learn not to judge by outward appearances and find out there is more to life than constantly chasing the dollar.

A brilliant comic performance by Williams and good supporting acts from all the cast make this a highly enjoyable romp which strongly supports traditional family values. Go and see it with the kids. They’ll find it hilarious. And you’ll have something to discuss as a family afterwards.

My Ratings: Average / 3
—D A Littlewood, age 58
Positive—I thought “RV” was a great family film, and I really enjoyed it. …not every movie has to be about a perfect family. The family in this movie has a few problems, but so what, it’s not the Brady Bunch.…
My Ratings: Good / 3
—Melissa, age 19
Neutral
Neutral—I saw this film with my sister and 5 children in the 2nd and 5th grades. The first 20 minutes made me wonder if we’d made a mistake, but the rest of the film was much cleaner and enjoyable. The kids all loved it! They do say crap several times and OH MY GOD a couple times, and there is a mom’s cleavage in our face most the movie. (FYI) The previews show a clip where a boy SAYS his sister is making out, but that’s not shown?! Enjoy! If you choose to go, it is funny and touching.
My Ratings: Average / 4
—Kimberly, age 39 really
Negative
Negative—“RV” is pure rubbish. It is full of poop jokes and fecal humor, too scatological for kids. Robin Williams is not funny and must be doing it for $s. Don’t waste your time, money or brain cells on this movie
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 1
—Fred, age 23
Negative—This was one of the subtle films that hides it’s crude humor and innuendo behind the “family values” banner that we, as Christians, are looking for in a film, but can seldom find.

There ARE positive concepts to discuss after the film. You could talk about the value of spending time together as a family and how much quality and quantity time is lacking today. You could mention that careers are not worth sacrificing your family for, only to realize that your family would rather have had you all along, not the things your absence gave them.

However, you really have to be willing to subject yourself to a lot of unnecessary “flesh-appealing” humor to be able to get to any of the redeeming values in the film. There is too much cleavage and too much language, and there are too many innuendos to be countered by the positive qualities of the film.

Even my ten year old daughter was ready to leave before the film was over. She made it clear that this was not a “family-friendly” film, and that she had no interest in renting or buying it when it comes out on video. I also had a difficult time hearing my 14 year old daughter laugh at the kind of humor this movie used to “entertain.”

Bottomline, you can spend your money on a lot better things… and as the movie teaches, you can spend a lot better quality time with your kids… wish I had!
My Ratings: Average / 4
—Scott-Mount Juliet, TN, age 40
Negative—Don’t waste your time on this. This is the second movie in my life I’ve walked out on, and the first where I asked for my money back (the theatre manager was courteous and gave my wife and me passes for a future movie). As stated, my wife and I left after suffering through about a half-hour of “RV.” What we saw was filled with teenage disrespect for parents, and cheap, unimaginative, completely un-funny “humor.” Very predictable, quick-money Hollywood tripe. You’re better off going elsewhere.
My Ratings: Offensive / 1
—Alan, age 39
Negative—If you want to view a movie that makes the dad the moron of the family, that totally discredits the leadership of the dad, this is your movie! The movie not only takes a clear turn from the Bible on “Honoring your Father,” (Ephesians 6:2) it also takes away from what Jesus says a marriage should be (Ephesians 5:22-28). There is total family rudeness, hostility, and separation. Only in the last 5 or so minutes does it seem as if everyone comes to an understanding of each other and is kind. Not worth the wait!

The premise is that this family is going to go ‘RVing’ in order to get closer. Dad comes home with a RV and cancels a planned vacation to Hawaii. I have just one concern with his plan… dad lies to his family, takes them on a RV trip only to get to a business meeting. Not for family unity

The whole movie was one cleavage shot after another. A couple undertone guy remarks. Once when the dad is covered in poop, another man is spraying him off. Only the hose seems to ONLY be pointing at his private area where the dad seems to greatly enjoy it.

Although it does not show it, It is said that two teenagers are “making out” The parents of the teenage boy laughs at them making out because his son doesn’t seem to know what he is doing. There are several Oh My **d’s used, once Bit**. I was totally disgusted with this movie. This is not a family movie. This is not in my opinion a movie for any age.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 2
—Mindy, age 38
Negative—A sad testament to today’s society. Out of whack family, young girl with revealing clothes throughout the whole movie, another revealing woman, extremely bad jokes and bathroom humor. That’s not the worst of it for me though; I found the movie very annoying and felt uncomfortable just watching it. I’ve never felt that way when watching a movie before. It is definitely one of the worst movies I’ve seen in years. To give it credit, it does have a message at the end about drawing closer as a family and standing for truth over money. Also, it is much cleaner than “Vacation,” which must have filter to be watched.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 3
—Brett, age 29
Negative—…The movie was very predictable, with very few plot surprises. This movie had almost no fresh ideas. I was able to predict the next scene throughout the movie. The folks who made this movie were apparently just seeking to make a movie, and I cannot imagine Robin Williams will cherish this one when he looks back on his career. If you liked “Are We There Yet?” you will like this movie. This movie is very lame, folks.
My Ratings: Offensive / 2
—Jim Laney, age 44
Comments from young people
Positive—I went to see RV with my family yesterday. We all enjoyed it very much (except for my five year old sister). We all agreed that it was one of the best movies, and was wonderful for a good laugh. Our family has a pop up camper, so we could relate with some of the problems that Bob had, although much of it was exaggerated. If he had read the users manual he would have known about how to put the chucks next to the tires, and how to drive it better.

The only part of the movie that I didn’t like was when the sewage pipe got blocked, that was sort of gross, okay maybe really gross. There wasn’t much language at all b*tch, and d*mn were used only twice each. That was just about it for the language except that OMG was used some. Anyway, I hope this review was helpful and I hope that you go to see RV. It is definitely worth the twenty five dollars to go see this awesome movie that the whole family can enjoy.
My Ratings: Average / 4
—Theresa, age 13
Positive—I went to see this movie with my Dad and my brother. It was better than I expected, a great family film!! They did say “Oh my God” a couple of times but overall it was a good movie. At the beginning of the film the family wasn’t very close, but by the end they had “opened their eyes” and realized how close they had become by spending a couple of weeks in a RV together.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 3
—Romany, age 12
Neutral—My dad and I went to go see this movie because our family went on a long RV trip a few summer ago and thought that it would be funny. The movie seemed really long and boring. It didn’t seem like there was even a point to it. There was a few mild “profanities” and a few low cut shirts, but nothing extremely offensive. All in all, don’t waste your money on this movie, because it’s not worth the 8 bucks.
My Ratings: Average / 2
—Laura, age 13
Positive—I really liked the movie RV. I went to see it with my family, and not only did we laugh, the whole theater laughed out loud. It had a few cuss words, and a teenage kiss, but not enough inappropriate things to keep anyone 9 and older away from. It has a good message that tells you to have quality time with your mom and dad. The only thing that I didn’t like is that the dad lied to his family about going on the rv trip just to spend time with his family. The real reason he did it was to go to a business meeting. I highly recommend you to see this movie.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Jonathan Coleman, age 10
Neutral—“RV” is a cute movie. Although, I probably would not go see it again. …it has a lot of “bad” words in it. Some actors are not modestly dressed [stuff hanging out]. From a Christians perspective, it is not a appropriate.
My Ratings: Average / 3
—Caylene, age 12
Positive—…a great family movie. I thought it was hilarious! A movie to watch over and over again. There was nothing bad about it. A great movie to see with friends.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4
—Tayler, age 13
Positive—Despite some crude humor, revealing clothes, and some other material that Christians may or may not find offensive, “RV” is an overall basically clean and funny movie (I haven’t laughed so hard at a movie in quite a long time). There are negative qualities that the reviewer mentioned, but these qualities are in no way portrayed as good or right. The fact remains that it still has a redeeming quality of showing that family is more important than work. This movie is worth the money required to rent or buy it. While it isn’t as clean as the comedies that come out of Pixar, this fairly clean comedy deserves support to tell Hollywood that we prefer cleaner comedies instead of comedies like “Talladega Nights” and the “Scary Movie” series.
My Ratings: Average / 4
—Ross, age 16
Positive—I saw this movie with my mom and my big sister and little brother, and my dad and we laughed out loud. It’s perfect for a great laugh. Part of the reason was my dad wants to take an RV trip. This definitely made me think about going to Hawaii instead…
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4
—Madison, age 11
Positive—…a great movie! It said the a-word 2 or 3 times, but was really funny. I think this movie is for ages 10 and up!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Kimi, age 12
Positive—…though a bit unrealistic at some points, was quite funny. It had a good message about family. Although there were some inappropriate parts, they certainly were not as bad as some other PG movies. I would recommend this film to families and their children ten and above.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—Ally, age 14