How high can one set their expectations when all the trailers for a movie are about a domesticated pig doing backflips? I suppose you can set them high if the movie was Charlotte’s Web, but surely not about a movie like College Road Trip which is about a girl and her father bonding as they travel across the country to attend university open tours. So to answer my own question – I didn’t have high hopes for Martin Lawrence’s latest foray due to that and because I didn’t particularly like his last outing: Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins.
After about 15 minutes, it became painfully evident that the best parts of the movie were going to be those in which the “Houdini” pig – which plays chess, spies on James Porter (Lawrence) and pisses in the toilet – was featured. That’s right, the pig, which I couldn’t figure out why the fuck it was even in the movie, has a more captivating presence than the stars – Lawrence as the overprotective father and Raven-Symoné as his disenchanted and semi-rebellious daughter Melanie. It was also apparent, that very little effort went into putting this movie together because it literally appears to be a hodgepodge of stupidly setup gags linked poorly together with the asinine road trip.
To drive home the point of how dumb College Road Trip is, allow me to point it out a few scenes that absolutely drove me crazy. In one instance while driving his police car (are you allowed to use them for personal use?), Porter veers off course through a forest thanks to a faulty GPS. After getting a flat tire and trying to jack it up the truck flips over into a ravine. There is no purpose to the scene other than to have Lawrence jump up and down and act like an imbecile. In another, Porter follows his daughter to a sorority house she is sleeping over at. It’s bad enough that he feels he has to spy on her – let’s not forget that he is supposedly a cop – so the fact that he breaks in (thanks to a conveniently placed ladder) and hides under a bed only to be caught makes it all the more pathetic. I’m not going to bother to mention the skydiving or the bus trip or the hotel stay or the . . . I think you get the idea now. Each scene “one ups” the preceding one in the scientific “WTF” factor.
What I did find amazing, however, was how the teenagers in the crowd simply laughed their asses off at all these scenes – how poorly they were set up or delivered didn’t phase them one iota. This tells me either I’ve lost touch with the adolescent in me or that kids these days have become mindless zombies who don’t have a clue about what is or isn’t good entertainment. Yes, both hypotheses are hard to imagine, but since nearly everyone I know says I act like a big, retarded child, I tend to think the former isn’t the problem. That means the future of our fine country may be in a lot of trouble.
Anyways, with the psychology lesson now over, I’ll conclude the review by saying that while College Road Trip is mind-numbingly idiotic it could have actually been worse. Donny Osmond, who plays the sickenly chipper Doug Greenhut and Molly Ephraim who plays his daughter Wendy, could have had much larger parts. Thankfully, director Roger Kumble left a great deal of their scenes on the cutting room floor. If they had been showcased more, this would have caused me to burn down the cineplex in its entirety. My thanks to Mr. Kumble for his kindness.
March 24, 2008 @ 10:49 am Tracy
I am sorry but this movie looks really lame. The only saving grace is Donnie Osmond’s character.
March 24, 2008 @ 12:01 pm General Disdain
Saving grace? His role may be the most annoying character ever created in the history of cinema . . .
March 24, 2008 @ 11:06 pm Corey
I think you’ve missed a possibility-being a critic forces you to lose the inner child…
No one said ranking movies on their merits was fun.
April 4, 2008 @ 3:43 am Ojay
Yes, this movie was idiotic but as you put it, it could have been worse. I walked in the theatre expecting to be annoyed as heck (only went because the kids wanted to see it), but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Donnie Osmond was hillarious btw :)
April 4, 2008 @ 4:01 am Ojay
I thought the Houdini pig was annoying. Donnie Osmond was annoying but very funny. This movie reminds me of RV (starring Robin Williams and JoJo). They were both a little dumb, but not as dumb as I expected.
April 6, 2008 @ 4:04 am Ojay
Well, I agree somewhat with Corey. Being a critic entails critiquing and viewing through an array of perspectives, among many other things. My kids loved this movie because it made them laugh with simple and idiotic humor. Sometimes it’s nice to view the world (or maybe just a movie or two)through your ‘inner child’. College Road Trip was idiotic, I agree, but they throw in a thing or two that will make you laugh just for the heck of it.
April 6, 2008 @ 2:19 pm Phntmbanana
But on that same point Kids don’t read reviews and aren’t the toughest audiences to please on a whole. Just look at Alvin and the Chipmunks which made butt-loads of cash but was consistently trashed by almost everyone who saw it. Just because a movie is made for kids does not mean you have to lower your standards there have been plenty of great kids movies(see Pixar if you don’t know) this by far was not one of them.
April 9, 2008 @ 3:12 am Ojay
You are right about lowering standards. College Road Trip certainly could have been made a lot better. I feel it certainly had a foundation for being good for both hard-to-please parents and easy-to-please children, but College Road Trip wasn’t very well thought out.
October 23, 2008 @ 10:25 am big men swear
It amazes me that films like this even get made. Surely there must be one, of the presumably many, people who put money into it must read the script and realise it’s a load of rubbish?
Why does it get made?
April 15, 2009 @ 7:27 am baby girl
Hey there everyone.
I think people are being a bit harsh. There is a place in the world for these types of films. They aren’t boasting that they are going to be top quality films but they are designed to pass a bit of time. You don’t have to watch it if you don’t want to anyway. Doesn’t harm anyone
December 13, 2009 @ 12:48 pm brainload
i dont really like this movie, too many overact..