To watch Barry Sonnenfeld's "RV" is to realize that there are some movies even Steve Martin won't do.
And so we get Robin Williams, pulling out his patented twinkle to play a harried dad who drags his family on a cross-country drive in order to reconnect with his family -- and, um, make a crucial business meeting in Colorado that he's neglected to mention.
"RV" runs only 99 minutes, but it feels so much longer, as Williams and Sonnenfeld (who established himself as a brilliant comedic filmmaker with the "Addams Family" movies and "Get Shorty" and "Men in Black," and then made "Wild Wild West" and "Big Trouble" and "Men in Black II") drag the movie through a series of laborious, pointless setups in which plans are thwarted, property is damaged, and Williams becomes comically frustrated. Plus, he hits lots of stuff with the RV, which is, you know, quite cumbersome.
It's like the "Vacation" movies, except that Williams is no Chevy Chase -- which, considering their respective career paths, is flat-out shocking -- and his family, played by Cheryl Hines, Joanna "Jojo" Levesque and Josh Hutcherson, are just as horrible and self-centered as he is, sniping at one another so often that it feels like one endless cycle of abuse.
Perversely, you start hoping something truly awful will happen to these monsters. Maybe the raccoon in the RV's oven will give Williams rabies, and he'll go crazy and abandon the wheel to attack his family somewhere in Colorado. Maybe the mutants from "The Hills Have Eyes" will set upon our heroes while they're parked in Utah. Maybe the shower of fecal matter will give him E. Coli, and he'll spend the rest of the movie vomiting and miserable. At least he'd know how we feel.
Sony's full-frame DVD -- the enhanced-widescreen edition was unavailable for preview -- is fully loaded, starting with Sonnenfeld's "telestrator audio commentary" that allows the director to specifically direct our attention to the funny bits in the frame -- which, considering how hard it is to find actual comedy in this movie, is actually a welcome gesture.
Other supplements include five production featurettes that amount to a 35-minute documentary -- including a closer look at the artificial fecal matter that plays such a prominent role in the comedy -- as well as an alternate scene, a collection of outtakes billed as "RV Reveries," and five storyboard comparisons.
The disc also includes what may be the lamest Easter Egg in the history of the DVD format, if you keep track of such things.
STUDIO: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
RELEASE DATE: August 15, 2006
TIME: 99 minutes
DVD EXTRAS:French audio dub; English and French subtitles; audio commentary; production featurettes; outtakes; gag reel; storyboard gallery.
INTERNET SITE: www.sonypictures.com/movies/rv