Wednesday, March 12, 2008

College Road Trip

Film Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Raven-Symone’ and Martin Lawrence Co-Star in Coming-of-Age Comedy

When Melanie (Raven-Symone’) gets waitlisted by Georgetown, the school asks her to come to Washington for an interview in three days. So, the high school senior impulsively decides to ride from Illinois to DC with her best friends, Katie (Margo Harshman) and Nancy (Brenda Song), since they’re already planning to drive in that general direction in order to visit the University of Pittsburgh.
However, when Melanie’s overprotective father, Fox Springs’ Police Chief James Porter (Martin Lawrence) catches wind of the impending all-girl road trip, he opts to drive his daughter himself. With days dwindling down before her departure for college, he figures that this will be his last chance to spend a little quality time with Melanie before she moves out of the house.
Besides, the manipulative cop has an ace up his sleeve, namely, an unscheduled pit stop at Northwestern where, with the help of some undercover confederates, he’s hoping to talk his daughter into changing her mind. What James never banked on, however, is that his precocious young son, Trey (Eshaya Draper), would stow away in the car, and bring his pet pig, Arnold, along too.
This kookie cast of characters keeps College Road Trip in motion, one of those wacky misadventures fueled by an ever-compounding comedy of errors. Unfortunately, director Roger Kumble (Cruel Intentions) failed to include any humor aimed at anyone over the age of about five in the film’s formulaic recipe. This is a bit strange given that the movie isfeaturing the theme of going off to college.
Anyhow, before they arrive at Georgetown, the Porters and their anthropomorphic boar get a flat tire, before having their car roll into a ravine. Proceeding on foot, James soon becomes the straight man for all manner of infantile slapstick, from being tasered by a sorority house mother (Kelly Coffield) to falling off a ladder.
Raven-Symone’, at 23, looks a little mature to be playing a high school student. But even more annoying is the casting of Na’Kia Bell Smith as young Melanie in flashback sequences when there must be plenty of file footage of Raven around at the age, given that she has literally grown-up in front of the camera.
More funereal than comical, with a universal message that gets lost in the shuffle. Don’t tase me bro!

Fair (1 star)
Rated G
Running time: 83 minutes
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures

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