MPAA Rating: PG

Entertainment: +3

Content: +2 1/2

Cast: Robin Williams, Jeff Daniels, Cheryl Hines, Kristin Chenoweth, Joanna Jojo Levesque, Josh Hutcherson. Family adventure/comedy. Written by Geoff Rodkey. Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld.

FILM SYNOPSIS: A workaholic executive persuades his wife and kids to give up their Hawaiian vacation for some family bonding on a cross-country RV trip. Havoc ensues as they deal with cramped traveling quarters, teen angst and a bizarre family of fellow campers.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Chevy Chase nearly destroyed the family vacation genre with his National Lampoon series. Besides becoming more lame-brained with each sequel, each of those films was so full of sexual innuendo and crudity that parents found they couldnt take their children to see them. Why make a family film you cant take the family to? Now, we all know Robin Williams is no stranger to coarseness, but in this film the toilet humor is used more as observational humor than in-your-face excess. (Four people in a recreational vehicle containing only one bathroom, well, thats going to lead to poop parody.)

The potty humor must be addressed, for fecal farce is certainly a staple to the films comic energy, the main joke surrounding the visual gag of a backed-up septic tank. Also, there is the affectionate name given the ugly home-on-wheels by the family (I wont say it here, but it rhymes with bird.) The kids in the audience, including many an adolescent husband, found these offerings amusing.

Bodily functions aside, there are two elements that raise this family flick above most Robin Williams and Barry Sonnenfeld. Williams is a combination of genuine comic genius and fine film actor. And director Sonnenfeld, a former director of photography, has helmed several funny films, including The Addams Family, Get Shorty, and Men in Black. Both have had failures, to be sure, but RV is not one of them. With just the right balance of thoughtful wit, juvenile slapstick and sincere family bonding, RV is silly for sure, but oh so funny.

Video alternative or addition, depending on your willingness to accept the crude sight gags of RV: Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation. James Stewart takes the family to the beach for the summer in this new-to-DVD comedy classic. Made in 1963, todays teens may have difficulty relating to their counterparts, but Stewart is hysterical. And unlike todays comedies, Mr. Stewarts film lacks any toilet humor.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Columbia Pictures

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: There is a great deal of humor revolving around human waste.

Obscene Language: A few minor expletives, but other than one SOB and one b-word, the filmmakers avoid harsh language.

Profanity: The expression Oh my god is said several times, but no other misuse of Gods name or Christs.

Violence: There are several slapstick situations, but no real hostile behavior.

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: I caught two crude sexual innuendoes that will most likely go over the heads of the youngest audience members.

Drugs: Brief scene with social drinking.

Other: Theres a lot of teen attitude, but eventually the family is drawn together. Lessons are taught about not judging a book by its cover and the importance of family.

Running Time: 90 minutes
Intended Audience: Families

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