COLLEGE ROAD TRIP
Melanie (Raven-Symoné) is eagerly looking forward to her first big step towards independence when she plans a "girls only" road trip to check out prospective universities. But when her possessive police chief father (Martin Lawrence) insists on escorting her instead, she soon finds her dream trip has turned into a hilarious nightmare adventure.
Review by Louise Keller
I suppose it's harmless fun, but it's a pity this well-meaning, slapstick comedy intended as a vehicle for funny-man Martin Lawrence, does not show a little more restraint or a little more imagination. Lawrence plays a control freak father who is frightened of losing his precious daughter Melanie (Raven-Symoné) when she is about to go to college. The four writers credited for the screenplay have deemed to also make buffoon Lawrence Chief of Police, which grates badly from the start, making it hard to establish any kind of reality in which to ground the characters. Roger Kumble directs his actors to play everything for laughs, so the jokes are lead weighted. There are a few funny ideas, but overall it's silly, schmaltzy and sentimental, as father and daughter take a road trip and discover love, trust and letting go are paramount to their relationship.
There's a lot of shrieking throughout the film, beginning when Raven-Symoné's Melanie is accepted not only in her local college of North Western, 40 miles from home, but also in Georgetown, 700 miles away. The shrieking continues because the family's pet pig Albert is a constant source of irritation to Lawrence's Chief James Porter. Now this is one smart pig that plays chess with Melanie's kid brother Trey (played by cute-as-a-button Eshaya Draper), solves a Rubik's Cube, acrobatically turns perfect somersaults and swings manically on a crystal chandelier. The road to Georgetown is paved with a million pitfalls and some potential laughs, as James and Melanie meet and hook up with Donnie Osmond's hilarious, ever-smiling Doug Greenhut, who together with his daughter Wendy (Molly Ephraim) turn every sentence into a unbearably kitsch song (from The Sound of Music to Yellow Polka Dot Bikini). Along the way, there's a mishap in a Sorority House, a trip to gaol, a visit to dancing Grannie's house, a wedding crash, a bus ride filled with singing Japanese and a sky diving incident.
There's nothing offensive in College Road Trip, nor is there anything especially worthwhile. The sentiments of father daughter love are sincere enough, and Raven-Symoné is appealing but the film plays like a big joke and Lawrence is capable of far better than this vehicle allows.
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COLLEGE ROAD TRIP (G)
CAST: Martin Larence, Raven-Symoné, Brenda Song, Kym E. Whitley, Adam LeFevre, Eugene Jones III, Margo Harshman, Lucas Grabeel, Donny Osmond,
PRODUCER: Louanne Brickhouse, Kristin Burr, Andrew Gunn
DIRECTOR: Roger Kumble
SCRIPT: Emi Mochizuki, Carrie Evans, Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Theo Van De Sande
EDITOR: Roger Bondelli
MUSIC: Ed Shearmur
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Ben Barraud
RUNNING TIME: 83 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Walt Disney
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 7, 2008