Antonia Woodruff | |

robin williams in RV
Little RV on the prairie

New movie RV is about a man who tries to get closer to his family by taking them on a road trip across America in a recrational vehicle. Its a comedy about the camper van community and the woes and pitfalls of life on the road.

During a thoughtful moment in the flick,released next week in the US, Robin Williams observes that if you really want to find out about yourself, put your family in a recreation vehicle and drive.

In fact its not Robin Williams we are finding out about here, but Director Barry Sonnenfeld.

Robin Williams - Live on BroadwayRobin Williams – Live on Broadway – DVD fom Amazon
Williams’ ad man character plans a job-saving rendezvous on the pretense of a family vacation. He rents an RV and navigates his spoiled wife (Cheryl Hines of Curb Your Enthusiasm), son and daughter through a maze of misadventures, including a faulty toilet, a near-escape from hurtling off a hill, to say nothing of an annoying couple the clan meets who refuse to disappear from their radar.

It is not as funny as Lost in America with Albert Brooks, about a man who chucks his old lifestyle to hit the road in a Winnie, only to have his wife lose all their money in Vegas. It’s a story of professional setbacks, disappointment mixed with relief, new insights into parenting and marriage, and finding laughs amid tough times.

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While Sonnenfeld's last movie, 2002's "Men in Black II," grossed a strong $190.4 million , it seems to have left pretty much everyone (Sonnenfeld, the studio, the producers, the audience) unhappy. "My dad was a salesman, and he would come home at 8 or 9, and he would work half a day on Saturdays sometimes," Sonnenfeld says. "But I always felt connected to my dad and never resented the long hours of his work. "What's really interesting about our generation is that we are with our kids more than I was with my dad, yet because we are electronically connected [to our jobs], even when we are with them we don't shut off. So what happens is that our kids feel that we are with them less, even though we are actually with them more." Williams' character sees the trip as a way to teach his family, and himself, what it means to be a family again. "In many ways, this is autobiography because I wanted to make a movie about my relationship with Chloe before she got too old," Sonnenfeld says of his 12-year-old daughter, who is cast in the film as the child of another family at an RV park. "I totally love kids, and one of the reasons why I wanted to make 'RV' so much is because I wanted to make a movie about kids and [their] relationships with adults. All adults, whether they are trying to help kids or trying to hurt kids, are basically inept. And children are capable." "RV" cost a little more than $50 million. Among other things, the limited budget meant that "RV," despite being a story of a family driving from Southern California to Colorado, would be shot in Vancouver and the hinterlands of British Columbia and Alberta, Canada.
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It rained so much during filming that most of the scenes of the family driving their rig were filmed on a stage, with the passing background added digitally. "I felt we were being punished," Sonnenfeld says. Sony decided when it was my turn to direct that they were going to be really fiscally responsible. I felt it was the wrong place to shoot the movie because it's all about America and the outdoors. "But ... because we did shoot in Canada and no one wanted to go up there, there was not a day that a studio executive visited the set."

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