Executive Bob Munro (Williams) is stressed, feeling threatened of losing his job and his lifestyle, since his abusive boss Todd Mallory (Will Arnett) hired the Stanford's geek Laird (Richard Cox) to work in their soda's company. Bob has promised his wife Jamie (Cheryl Hines), his teenage daughter Cassie (Joanna "Jojo" Levesque) and his young son Carl (Josh Hutcherson) to spend vacations in Hawaii, but Todd demands him to prepare a presentation and attend a business meeting with the owners of a family company in a merging operation scheduled in the same period.
Concealing the real reason of going to Colorado to his family, Bob rents a recreational vehicle and tries to convince his dysfunctional family that a road trip to the Colorado Rocky Mountains would be good to bring old values back to their family. After many incidents and while in the trailers parking area, the rookie Bob is helped by the friendly but somewhat bizarre Gornicke family—consisting of Travis (Jeff Daniels), Mary Jo (Kristin Chenoweth) and their kids Earl (Hunter Parish), Moon (Chloe Sonnenfeld), and Billy (Alex Farris). The Munros escape from the Gornickes and initiate a journey of difficulties and leaning, retrieving their forgotten family bond.
Before you can say "COME BACK! COME BACK!," things go gloriously, hilariously, annoyingly wrong due to the lack of brakes, Bob's job, toilet waste not cleared out from the last rental and more hilarious stuff.
The film grossed over $80 million worldwide, but received mostly negative reviews from critics, most of which call it sweet yet blunt and predictable. It currently holds a 24% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Provides Examples Of:
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: It actually works to the kid's advantage this time. Bob drops a bizarre freestyle rap of sorts to get acquainted with some punks about to fight Carl. They get confused and leave.
- And the Adventure Continues: The Munros are heavily implied become a traveling family residing in an RV like the Gornickes.
- Bumbling Dad: Bob Munro is a candidate for being THE Trope Codifier (next to Clark W. Griswold or Homer Simpson) making every single bad judgement call imaginable during the vacation. He does, however, get a CMOA when he makes his company presentation.
- Chekhov's Gun: Bob's laptop which he hides during the trip to conceal his business reasons for his family trip. One night, Billy Gornicke comes across Bob and compliments him on it. Later, the laptop gets stolen by a scruffy hitchhiker. The Gornickes recover the stolen laptop after picking up the same hitchhiker.Travis: Alright, that's it! You're off the Gornicke Bus!
Hitchhiker: I didn't steal it! I found it!
Mary Jo: Well, now you lost it!
- Creator Cameo: Irv, the man painted on the side of the RV is director Barry Sonnenfeld. Bob even has a brief phone call with him.Bob: Thanks, Saul!
Irv: It's Irv!
Bob: Sorry. Well, I dunno where the hell I got "Saul." Well, thanks. [hangs up]
- Also, Barry's daughter Chloe plays Moon, the middle Gornicke child.
- Dance Party Ending: The Munro and Gornicke families are shown dancing to "Route 66" as the credits roll.
- Deadpan Snarker: Every member of the Munro family is this to a degree.
- Didn't Think This Through: When the RV gets stuck on a pinnacle of a steep hill, Bob repeatedly tries to rock it, to no avail. He then climbs to the front and tugs on the wipers to get the RV moving. Eventually, he manages to get the RV on the ground and moving. Bob is relieved—until he remembers he's still clinging on the windshield as the RV rolls down the hill at top speed!
- Downer Ending: The RV sinks to the bottom of the lake, nullifying their contract with Irv. While they do later fish it out, it possibly forces them to sell their house to pay for damages. While things seem to get better when Bob's offered a higher position at his company, but when they forget to apply the parking blocks yet again, the RV flattens his employers' cars, seemingly putting him out of a job. Roll credits!
- Verging into Bittersweet Ending, both Carl and Cassie don't seem that phased about the possibility of losing their house. If anything, they're more interested in living in the RV like the Gornickes.
- Granola Girl: Cassie. Not only does she plaster pro-vegan stickers around her side of the RV, but she doesn't take well to the fact that dinner with the Gornickes involves meat, which ends with her accidentally running into an RV that's doubling as a meat locker. This later leads to Earl Gornicke giving Cassie a list of restaurants with vegan-friendly menu options in the area for the family to consider going to.
- Hero of Another Story: The Gornickes gave led an interesting life, constantly talking about different comedic Noodle Incidents that make it clear that their encounters with the Munros is only one of many comedic mishaps to happen to them.
- Hidden Depths: The Gornickes initially come across as stereotypical hicks but they're revealed to be ridiculously well-read and well-educated with the eldest son intending to attend Stanford soon.
- Nice Guy: The Gornickes. All of them.
- No Hugging, No Kissing: Earl develops a romantic interest in Cassie and Carl starts to like Moon, but nothing happens between them on-screen. Carl does make a comment about Earl and Cassie "making out," but nothing is shown.
- Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: The Munros first believe the Gornickes are stalking them, but the latter were only trying to help out.
- Product Placement: Carl is mostly seen playing with a PSP.
- Running Gag: "The RV's rolling away."
- Ship Tease: The kids from the two families seem to take a liking to each other, but nothing else seems to happen between them. Ends up as a Romantic False Lead.
- The Gornicke bus horn plays the intro melody from Star Trek.
- Earlier in the movie, when the Munros begin to embark on their trip, Bob says to Jamie:
- The Gornicke bus horn plays the intro melody from Star Trek.
- Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: When trying to drain the sewerage pipe, Bob and some other people think about using a pair of over the counter clamps to attach the two pipes, due to the pressure, the clamps don't hold. Surprising Truth in Television as a number of people who have never had to drain the sewerage from an RV will in fact do it this way and have the same results.
- Theme Naming: Garry and Larry Moiphine.
- Toilet Humor: A helluva lot of poop rains down on Bob when he tries to empty the septic tank of the RV.