Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Mork Phone Home

If I were to tell you I grew up watching Robin Williams do his "nanoo nanoo" on television's Mork and Mindy, then yes, you'll know how ancient I am. The last movie I've seen with Williams in it (ok, just his voice), was the animated feature Robots. His is a career with pretty defining movies, like Dead Poets Society and Awakenings, to darker fare like recent movies Insomnia and One Hour Photo, vastly different from his comedic roles like in Mrs Doubtfire and Cadillac Man.

So it's almost a must for me to watch RV, despite its almost silly premise for a family comedy. It's Robin Williams, and he could lift almost any mediocre movie, in my opinion, and depending on the genre, either swing it to comedy with his perfecto impersonations and ad-libbing, or flaunt his acting chops in more serious roles.

However, in RV, you could see him slow down as the movie misses the mark at certain points, unsure of what it wants to be. Certain scenes were dragged out for too long, and could have been shortened instead. But it doesn't mean that it's a bad film altogether.

Telling the story of the dysfunctional Munro family who communicates via instant messaging, Robin Williams plays the head of the household, who on one hand has to try and keep his promise of bringing his entire family for some serious bonding sessions over a Hawaii holiday, but on the other, have to keep to his work commitments in order to save his rear and from being retrenched in the face of young upstarts eyeing his job. Talk about work life balance!

So he devises a plan to do both, by hiring a Recreational Vehicle (hence RV), a truck like vehicle with all the modern trappings like television, sofas, bedroom, etc. The only glitch is that the Munro family is besieged by infighting, and are quite the anti-social family to begin with. Having to live out in the rough, and in camp like communities, spell a totally different ballgame for them altogether.

That is until they meet the Gronickes (played by Jeff Daniels and Kristin Chenoweth), a family of five seemingly strange people with prozac-enhanced attitudes toward life. The movie picks up whenever the Gronickes come into the picture, and they play it for laughs as the all American, all innocent, all singing family, kinda like the Brady Bunch. But the Gronickes are more than meets the eye, as we slowly find out, as RV splutters towards the finale in many cliched moments until an all's well that ends well close.

But it did offer an interesting attempt in contrasting between that of a salaried man, and one who is financially free. And to break down stereotypes and perceptions of classifying fellow men based on their behaviour and appearance.

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