COLLEGE ROAD TRIP
MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
Martin Lawrence as CHIEF JAMES PORTER
Raven-Symone as MELANIE PORTER
Brenda Song as NANCY
Kym E. Whitley as MICHELLE PORTER
Donny Osmond as DOUG GREENHUT
Directed by: Roger Kumble
BY KEVIN CARR
Anyone who knows me and my tastes in movies is very familiar with my dislike for both Martin Lawrence and Raven-Symone. So, with that in mind, you might expect me to unleash a diatribe of hatred for “College Road Trip.”
However, after seeing the film on DVD for the first time (having missed the theatrical release due to a screening conflict), I have to say there was a certain charm to it.
Martin Lawrence plays Police Chief James Porter whose daughter Melanie (Raven-Symone) is looking at colleges for the fall. While Chief Porter is hoping Melanie will go to the nearby Northwestern, she’s got her sights on other colleges, namely Georgetown. She’s invited to DC for a visit to the Georgetown campus, and Chief Porter insists on driving her there in order to convince her to stay close to home.
What I respected about “College Road Trip” was its commitment. Not everything that happens in the film is funny, but the actors drive it home with relentless passion. At times, it’s a bit in-your-face and over-the-top, but this all works for the frothy and mercifully short 83-minute film. Toss in an annoyingly stupid Donny Osmond, and things work in a miraculous way.
Martin Lawrence and Raven-Symone strike a level of chemistry that makes the whole much more than the sum of its parts. As she’s grown a little older, Raven-Symone has come off her high horse a bit, from a screen presence perspective, and she is more generous on screen, which always leads to better comedy.
Along for the ride is Porter’s young son Trey (Eshaya Draper) who brings along the family’s pot-bellied pig. I know the cute pig is a ploy to enchant audiences, but I couldn’t help but be sucked in by the silliness.
Can you blame me if I though the pig was hilarious? Apparently Disney agrees with me, considering the little porker was the lynchpin to their advertising. If only the movie was about the pig… then it would have been a five-star film.
The bonus features include two commentary tracks – one with the director and Raven, and the other with the writers. There’s also a gag reel, alternate endings, deleted scenes, a music video with behind-the-scenes footage and Raven’s on-set video diary.
“College Road Trip” is a safe movie for families and kids. I still am a bit in awe that I enjoyed it as much as I did.