Film Reviews

One Family. Eight Wheels. No Brakes.

Georgina Melvin will be reviewing the road movie RV, in memory of Robin Williams.

The 2006 road movie, RV, directed by Barry Sonnenfield is a classic comedy for all the family, staring the comedic genius of many childhoods, Robin Williams. The Road Movie follows the Munro family as they head to their destination. This film successfully entertains the audience throughout, with the obstacles and people that they meet along the way that might just ruin their vacation. The film features some well-known actors such as the beloved Robin Williams, a young Josh Hutcherson, Jeff Daniels, Kristen Chenoweth and early 2000’s pop singer Joanna Blagden also known as ‘JoJo’.

The plot consists of a father who lies to his dysfunctional family about a sudden change in their family vacation, instead of vacationing in Hawaii he seems super keen that the family bond together in an RV to the Rocky Mountains instead. The audience are aware, but the family are oblivious, that Bob (Robin Williams’ character) is in desperate need to attend a business meeting so that he doesn’t lose his job. Scared of admitting the stress that he is under at work to his family and the possibility that he might lose his job, he is left with no choice but to lie to them. Tricking his family into the idea that a family road trip, sleeping in a confined space together and being outdoors with nature, is better than sitting on a beach in Hawaii drinking cocktails.

As the Munro family begin the road trip of their life, this journey both pushes them apart, but also brings this drifting family closer than ever; reminding them how important family is in times of crisis.

The film opens with, Bob Munro, putting his young daughter Cassie, played by Joanna Blagden, to bed whilst his wife cares for their second child in the background. Cassie, who is looking up at her father in admiration tells him “I’m never gonna get married, because I always wanna live here with you”. Bob replies “But you and I will always be best friends.” This opening to the film reminds us of the impeccable and heart-warming relationship between a father and daughter that they share from birth, however the film then flashes forward in time showing the Munro children now in their teens, bickering in the backseat of the family car. Cassie, now a teenager, is slumped in the backseat asking her father, (with attitude of course) “could you be any more of a dork?”. This opening to the film sets the image of what progression a family goes through as they each become older; we begin with both children young and innocent in their parent’s arms, juxtaposed with older versions of the kids, isolating themselves from their parents with headphones in their ears to avoid conversation. This opening to the film both identifies the characters to the audience of what to expect from them, as well as creating a narrative that this family do not get along together anymore. The opening of the film speaks to the audience because it makes you think how you have changed while growing up, and what your parents have had to deal with, such as rapidly changing attitudes. And as a viewer myself, it makes me reminisce on childhood moments and reminds me that being a parent is tougher than we think it is.

Meeting the rest of the family, Carl, who is no older than thirteen, wears over-sized clothes and chains around his neck, spends his time lifting weights in his room whilst chanting rap songs. And lastly Jamie, the wife to Bob and mother to Carl and Cassie, who adores her husband and tries to see the best in everyone whether that lands her in the wrong situations or not. We are soon introduced to their home on wheels for the duration of their trip to the Rocky Mountains. As Bob starts the engine in the RV and they begin their journey – no more than five minutes in – Bob takes a sharp turn on the road driving over the neighbour’s rubbish bins, causing plates to fall onto Cassie’s head.

The RV is the obstruction throughout their journey for them, as it would seem that Bob has hired a faulty, barely working vehicle, that breaks constantly. What’s good and makes this film enjoyable however, is that what causes all of the accidents to happen in the film is from the main thing needed for a road trip, the vehicle; which they need to be in for the duration of the film in order to get to their destination and back.

This film definitely meets its genre conventions of a comedy from start to finish; one of the scenes that stands out the most throughout, is when Bob is outside attempting to figure out how to empty the RVs sewage. This is the first scene in the film where the family meet another family that disrupt their journey, as Bob is approached by a redneck family who want to help him. Worried initially by this hillbilly family, Bob still trusts this family with the connection of the pipes that allow the sewage to flow from the RV into a waste dump. However, before he is able to question them, the pipes create a fountain of sewage that falls on top of Bob drenching him in human faeces.

The Munro family come across a second family that make an impact upon their travel and life, the Gornicke family, who again are portrayed to be hillbillies that live out of their RV and live on the road. The Munro family take a dislike to the Gornicke family by their difference in culture, and they do all that they can to escape from being near them. Absolutely oblivious to how the Munro family feel towards them, the Gornicke family try to keep connected to them and find a reason to follow them after they find Bob’s laptop and want to return it. Through endless incidents in their journey to the Rocky Mountains and fall-outs between Bob and his family, the Munro family create a close bond with the Gornicke family and learn from them what being a family means.

Not only do they reunite as a family and learn a lesson about life, but they create a friendship with an unusual family that changed them for the better. This film succeeds in delivering your stereotypical happy, feel-good ending that would be found in any American road movie comedy, that ultimately focuses on a family’s bond becoming closer.