Manic Robin Williams is merely jovial in `RV'

Review B-


The best thing about RV, Barry Sonnenfeld's remake (in spirit, if not in name) of National Lampoon's Vacation, is that it's a comedy in which Robin Williams gets to play someone other than Robin Williams.

Yes, Williams in short bursts can be one of the funniest men on the planet, but spread over an entire film - not to mention an entire film canon - his manic, rapid-fire schtick can prove wearying. RV gives him the chance to ratchet down his persona and gives the film's other actors a chance to shine as well. The result is a fitfully funny film, actually a fitfully very funny film, that suffers from only two real stumbling blocks. First, there's the initial setup, which hinges on a husband's reluctance to level with his wife, for reasons that seem way too forced. Second, and more disappointingly, is a schmaltz meter that repeatedly goes off the dial, in the name of clarifying life lessons audiences will have already figured out anyway.

RV (Columbia Pictures) Starring Robin Williams, Jeff Daniels, Cheryl Hines. Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld. Rated PG. Time 98 minutes.

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