In Columbia Pictures' family-adventure comedy RV, an overworked Bob Munro (Robin Williams), his wife Jamie (Cheryl Hines), their 15-year-old daughter Cassie (Joanna "JoJo" Levesque) and 12-year-old son Carl (Josh Hutcherson) are in desperate need of some quality time together. After promising to take them on a family vacation in Hawaii, Bob abruptly changes plans without telling them. Instead of a week in a tropical paradise, they're going on a road trip to Colorado in a recreational vehicle.
Dragging his wife and kids kicking and screaming into the RV, Bob's togetherness plan (which is partly a ruse to keep him from losing his job) almost immediately hits a major speed bump. Everything that can go wrong, does. Bob's lame attempts to navigate the unwieldy, oversized vehicle are met with silence and scorn from his resentful family. The RV life is a far cry from their comfortable life in Los Angeles and every attempt Bob makes to get them into the spirit of the vacation threatens to tear them further apart.
At an RV camp, the Munro family is befriended by the Gornicke family Ã¢Â€Â” an irritatingly endearing happy-go-lucky clan of full-time RVers. The more they try to elude the Gornickes, the more their paths seem destined to cross. But adversity has a way of uniting even the most dysfunctional family members and each setback the Munros experience inadvertently helps them become a true family again.
Columbia Pictures Presents in Association with Relativity Media A Douglas Wick & Lucy Fisher/ Intermedia/ IMF Production RV starring Robin Williams, Jeff Daniels, Cheryl Hines, Kristin Chenoweth, Joanna "JoJo" Levesque and Josh Hutcherson. The film is directed by Barry Sonnenfeld and written by Geoff Rodkey. The producers are Lucy Fisher and Douglas Wick. The executive producers are Bobby Cohen and Ryan Kavanaugh. The co-producer is Graham Place. The director of photography is Fred Murphy, ASC. The production designer is Michael Bolton. The editor is Kevin Tent, A.C.E. The costumes are by Mary E. Vogt. The music is by James Newton Howard. The music supervisor is Randall Poster.
THE AMERICAN DREAM ON WHEELS
"For a day, for a lifetime" is the tantalizing advertising logo that inspires a man to take his family on the adventure of their life by assuming the helm of a deluxe recreational vehicle and winding through the back roads of the good old U.S. A. A vehicle with more personal amenities than a 747 jetliner, this RV is the American dream come true.
At least that's the case a desperate Bob Munro (Robin Williams) makes to his family when he announces a change of plans for their long overdue vacation. The real reason is that his boss at Pure Vibe soda has made it clear, in no uncertain terms, that either he closes a merger acquisition over the coming week (his vacation week) or not to bother returning from vacation at all.
To his family's horror, their dreams of lounging on the beaches of Hawaii are dashed as they are forced to board a giant, unmanageable RV for a trip to the Rocky Mountains, and not since Stripes has a recreational vehicle featured so prominently in a major motion picture comedy.
The genesis of the project was a real-life RV family vacation taken by the film's producers, Lucy Fisher and Douglas Wick, several years back. The husband and wife team had three very young children at the time and they were looking for a family-togetherness outing. "Doug is a very good vacation planner," says Fisher, "and we decided to take an RV trip. We didn't really know much about it, but Doug loves to drive things and I like puttering around in the back, so it seemed like a fun idea. We spent a long time researching it Ã¢Â€Â” where we were going to get the RV, where we were going to go, etc."
In the end, they were joined by a group of friends and their respective families, forming a caravan of recreational vehicles, cruising along the highways and byways and communicating via walkie-talkies. What started out as a "trucker fantasy," according to Wick, became a wellspring for a comedy about families. "RV life is pretty funny because suddenly your whole family is cramped into more or less one room for however long the trip is," Wick laughs, "and you get to know each other in a whole different way."
For the film's director, Barry Sonnenfeld, even the look of an RV makes him laugh. "RVs are funny for many reasons," says Sonnenfeld. "First of all they look funny. They're too tall. They're too long, they're sort of ungainly, and inside, they are sort of weirdly full of off-versions of otherwise perfectly good colors."
And, as producer Wick learned, "anything that can go wrong with an RV often does." Each member of his caravan suffered a setback with either the electricity, the plumbing or under the hood. "There's a big learning curve when you join the RV world."
The real story of RV, however, is the typical American family the vehicle is transporting. "What was interesting about this project is that it gave me the opportunity to explore the nature of families," Sonnenfeld continues, "and how, as you get older and your kids get older, they make their own friends and begin to grow away from you."
Sonnenfeld could also not resist the idea of mining the comic potential in what could easily be a horror story. "My theory has always been the worse the experience, the better it is when you describe it in retrospect. I passed four kidney stones. Each one was horrible, but those stories are some of my best and funniest stories. Getting a flat tire on the Long Island Expressway on Thanksgiving Ã¢Â€Â“ that's a good story, but again, in retrospect. RV is about a family that has sort of drifted apart Ã¢Â€Â” even though they all still live together. They've all got their own MP3 players, their own computers. So even when they're in the same room, they're apart mentally. Forcing them to be together in this recreational vehicle at first threatens to make them grow even farther apart, but their near-disastrous experiences bring them back together in a hilarious fashion. It's through adventure and adversity that they are forced to do things together as a family again and to reconnect."
Also, Sonnenfeld adds, the Munro's shared experiences are what comes to define them as a family. "When you're all driving together and you get a flat tire, and you're all standing on the side of the road in the rain laughing because there's no jack and dad is using his Tool Man screwdriver to try and change the tire Ã¢Â€Â“ that's something you remember for the rest of your life."
For the producers, RV is also a movie about community. "As soon as we arrived in the first RV camp, we saw there was a community of people that were having a really good time," Fisher recalls. "They had blenders and were making margaritas and having parties. We really sensed that the communal life at the RV camp was one of the major draws."
The experience proved so indelible for Fisher and Wick that they immediately began contemplating a movie that would explore the RV lifestyle. "The idea," says Wick, "was to take a family with all kinds of issues and problems and let them be worked out within the intimate confines of an RV trip."
For director Sonnenfeld, the film was a way of creating a story that also reflected his own experiences as a father and husband. He saw RV as a way to incorporate some of his own amusing (again, in retrospect) experiences into a motion picture comedy.
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