Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

If you live somewhere less exposed, a RV might mean diddlysquat. Here's a clue: it's a ve-hicle. Here's another: Robert De Niro drove one to Florida to Meet The Fokkers.

The point about these babies is that they are BIG, like bungalows on wheels, with every mod con imaginable and others you never thought of. Driving them is a toughie, though, as Bob Munro (Robin Williams) finds out when he attempts a U-turn outside his home in the 'burbs and demolishes everything within screaming distance. Finally, as he lurches down the road, his teen bitch daughter Cassie (Joanna "JoJo" Levesque) quips, "You want to go back, Dad. We missed the neighbour's cat."

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The holiday from hell comic scenario used to be By Appointment to Lord Chevy of Chase. Thankfully, we are spared this time and although cliches and stereotypes cover the ground, like Bigfoot's paw prints, it remains an Eddie Murphy free zone.

Now that Dr Spock has done his worst and the young rule the world, family life is not so much a challenge as open warfare. Cassie used to be Daddy's girl. Now she hates everything. Her younger bro Curt (Josh Hutcherson) wears baggies and a permanent scowl. He hates everything, too, especially his (lack of) height.

Bob works for a soft drinks company and has a pr*** for a boss. After telling the kids and long suffering other half (Cheryl Hines) that they are taking a two week vacation in Hawaii, he is ordered to give a presentation to an ecologically friendly competitor in Colorado, with a view to a merger/take over/asset strip. Of course, he lies to his wife, rents a RV ("The Big Rolling Turd") and talks up an exciting camping holiday in the mountains as a far more cool thing to do than hanging around a beach in a grass skirt, bored white under 35-strength sun block.

How can this possibly be funny? The sight gags are predictable and the one-liners crackle like party poppers. The kids are wonderfully awful - that's a compliment! - and the film races along at a healthy lick. When Williams is not doing his throat-lumpish sentimental bit, which occurs near the end, he's as good as he was in (Oh, no! Not that!) Patch Adams.

Leave your prejudices at the door. This family adventure might surprise you.

Reviewed on: 09 Jun 2006
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The holiday from hell becomes a wild adventure.
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Director: Barry Sonnenfeld

Writer: Geoff Rodkey

Starring: Robin Williams, Cheryl Hines, Joanna "JoJo" Levesque, Josh Hutcherson, Jeff Daniels, Kristin Chenoweth, Hunter Parrish, Chloe Sonnenfeld, Alex Ferris, Will Arnett

Year: 2006

Runtime: 98 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: Germany/US


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