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DISNEY

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Roger Kumble
Cast:
Martin Lawrence, Raven-Symoné, Brenda Song, Kym Whitley, Adam LeFevre, Eugene Jones III, Margo Harshman, Donny Osmond
Writing Credits:
Emi Mochizuki, Carrie Evans, Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio

Tagline:
They just can't get there fast enough.

Synopsis:
Get ready for a wildly hilarious ride with Martin Lawrence and Raven-Symone in Disney's chaotic comedy, College Road Trip. Ambitious and confident Melanie Porter (Raven-Symone) is eagerly looking forward to her first big step towards independence - a girls-only road trip to check out colleges. But this rite of passage takes a wrong turn when her overprotective father (Martin Lawrence) insists on escorting her instead - and Melanie's dream trip quickly turns into a nightmare of wild and wacky curves. So fasten your seat belts for a nonstop, laugh-out-loud, madcap adventure that'll drive you silly!

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$13.601 million on 2706 screens.
Domestic Gross
$45.339 million.

MPAA:
Rated G

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 2.35:1/16X9
Fullscreen 1.33:1
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Surround 2.0
Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish

Runtime: 83 min.
Price: $29.95
Release Date: 7/15/2008

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director Roger Kumble and Actor Raven-Symone
• Audio Commentary with Writers Emi Mochizuki and Carrie Evans
• “Raven’s Video Diary”
• Music Video
• “On the Set” Featurette
• Deleted and Alternate Scenes with Optional Commentary
• Gag Reel
• Sneak Peeks


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RELATED REVIEWS


College Road Trip (2008)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 15, 2008)

When College Road Trip materialized in the spring of 2008, I’m sure many figured it was a sequel to 2000’s Road Trip. Nope. Instead of the latter’s debauched “R”-rated comedy, College provides a “G”-rated tale from Disney.

In College, police chief James Porter (Martin Lawrence) wants his high school senior daughter Melanie (Raven-Symone) to stay close to home and attend Northwestern University. However, she prefers the idea of Georgetown. Initially wait-listed at Georgetown, Melanie gets some strings pulled and might get in if she can attend an interview in three days.

Melanie wants to take a road trip with some friends, but James intervenes. He decides to escort Melanie from Chicago to DC on his own. The movie follows their misadventures on the way.

When Raven-Symone came to the Cosby Show cast as a “jump the shark” gimmick in 1989, I loathed her immediately. She smelled of one of those genetically engineered precocious cute kids who exist to throw out lame one-liners and bat their eyes.

She’s matured physically, of course – at 22, her chest needs its own zip code – but as a performer, Raven remains that same obnoxious little child we saw on Cosby. Why say a line that you can shout? Why make a gesture that doesn’t play to the folks in the cheap seats? Why be even remotely subtle when you can be big?

Maybe I shouldn’t blame Raven for all these tendencies, as they infect virtually everyone in the cast. Trip must be one of the most overacted films of all time, as each and every actor overdoes almost everything. It’s an onslaught of broad line readings and reactions, all meant to inspire hilarity.

Ugh. Trip is really little more than a sitcom brought to the big screen, and the acting reflects the kind of ridiculous mugging that mars so many TV shows. I guess that shouldn’t be a surprise since many of the actors come straight from Disney Channel series; apparently no one told them that movie acting requires something different. Of course, that doesn’t explain Martin Lawrence’s involvement in the overacting, but he was never a subdued performer, so his wildly over the top work doesn’t surprise.

Granted, I can’t blame the actors for their desperate attempts to infuse life into this dud. Trip fails to offer anything remotely approaching a coherent story. Instead, it packages a bunch of little “episodes” in which the Chief and Melanie go through various adventures. In and of itself, that structure isn’t a fatal flaw; after all, Vacation worked the same way and was a hit.

But Vacation actually included some reasonably funny material and some talented performers. No such luck befalls the idiotic and pedestrian College Road Trip. The material consistently proves uninventive and absurd, and not a laugh results along the way.

By the way, in the category of “Cynical Studio Marketing”, you’ll note actor Brenda Song featured prominently on the DVD’s case. This implies she plays a large role, but she actually on shows up onscreen for maybe five minutes of Trip. I guess she’s popular with kids due to her role on The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, though, so the suits figured her presence might sell some discs. Oh, and she helps offer a racial balance with two African-Americans and White As Can Be Donny Osmond also on the cover. Yeesh!


The DVD Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus B-

College Road Trip appears in both an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 and in a fullscreen version on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the widescreen image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Only the letterboxed picture was reviewed for this article. Though not spectacular, this was a perfectly satisfactory transfer.

Colors usually came across well. A few scenes displayed slightly mushy tones, but the majority of the movie offered nicely delineated and bright hues. Blacks seemed dark and full, while shadows were reasonably smooth. Some interiors came across as a bit dense, but those instances weren’t problematic.

For the most part, sharpness seemed fine. Occasionally I thought the image was a little ill-defined, especially in some wider shots. Still, the flick was usually accurate and concise. I noticed no jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement was minor. No source flaws marred the presentation. While the visuals rarely excelled, they always remained satisfying.

Similar thoughts greeted the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of College Road Trip. Examine the audio of pretty much every other comedy of this sort and you’ll know what to expect from the soundfield. It was a front-heavy affair that usually didn’t offer much more than general ambience. However, the road sequences added a little more zest than usual, and they filled out the spectrum well. Just don’t expect action-movie material from this restrained mix.

No issues with audio quality occurred. Speech was consistently distinct and concise, and I detected no problems with edginess or intelligibility. Effects played a minor role and never taxed the system. They displayed decent accuracy, though. Music was a more prominent participant. The track boasted good life and definition to the score, as it showed solid clarity and depth. This was an unexceptional soundtrack, but it was good for this sort of film.

When we move to the extras, we start with two audio commentaries. The first comes from director Roger Kumble and actor Raven-Symone, both of whom sit together for this running, screen-specific chat. They discuss how Kumble came onto the project, cast, characters and performances, story issues, rewrites and reshoots, music, cut/altered scenes, and a few other production topics.

Kumble does the heavy lifting here, as Raven mostly just chirps about aspects of the flick she likes. (Which is everything, pretty much.) Actually, Kumble throws out plenty of happy talk as well, but he gives us a reasonable amount of information as well. Raven does become more involved in the informational side of things as the film progresses, so this ends up as a decent track. It’s too heavy on praise, but it’s not bad.

The second track provides a running, screen-specific affair with writers Emi Mochizuki and Carrie Evans. They sit together and chat about the origins of the flick, story issues, influences and inspirations, and thoughts about cast and crew. Occasionally they provide actual useful information, but not with any frequency. Tons of dead air mars the track, and even when they speak, the writers usually just tell us what they love about the flick. We’d be better served by a five-minute interview with Mochizuki and Evans, as that’s about how much good material appears in this tedious commentary.

Raven’s Video Diary lasts nine minutes, 57 seconds and shows footage from the set. Raven narrates this, and we also get a few interview remarks from Raven, Kumble and Martin Lawrence as well as bits like audition footage. Some decent shots from the production emerge, but the whole thing’s way too silly and fluffy to add up to much.

More Raven shows up in a music video for “Double Dutch Bus”. It’s a pretty standard lip-synch and dance video that features a few guest stars from the flick and some movie footage. I’ve seen better, but I’ve also seen worse.

“Double Dutch Bus” also gets covered in an On the Set featurette. The three-minute and 27-second clip offers comments from Raven-Symone and Donny Osmond along with shots from the set. It’s puffy but it does give us some minor glimpses of the shoot.

Next we find 10 Deleted Scenes (12:36) and two Alternate Scenes (3:36). Most of these add little gags or pieces of exposition and don’t contribute much. The major exception comes from “A Big Misunderstanding”, which consists of a long sequence set in the woods after James and Melanie get stuck. It’s not funny, but at least it’s something different.

We can view these with or without commentary from Kumble. He provides notes about the various scenes and also lets us know why he cut them. Kumble gives us solid thoughts about the sequences.

A Gag Reel lasts two minutes, 48 seconds. It’s a standard compilation of goofs and giggles. I expect it’ll amuse the movie’s target audience.

A few ads open the DVD. We get clips for Blu-Ray Disc, Camp Rock, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert and Disney Movie Rewards. These also appear in the Sneak Peeks area along with promos for The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Wizards of Waverly Place and Phineas and Ferb: The Fast and the Phineas. No trailer for College Road Trip appears here.

While I recognize I’m not part of the audience targeted by College Road Trip, that doesn’t mean I should tolerate its inanity. Sappy, stupid and consistently annoying, the movie barely exists as a coherent piece, and nothing about it entertains. The DVD provides fairly good picture and audio along with an erratic roster of extras. This is a perfectly acceptable release for a terrible flick.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.7 Stars Number of Votes: 10
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21:
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