Sometimes I just bang my head against the wall when some of these DVDs show up. I know I’m not the demographic for some of these titles and yet I still suffer through watching and reviewing them and while I’m sure they make for very humorous reviews as I blast them for damaging my IQ, sometimes I just wonder how I’m supposed to accurately review these films. This film, College Road Trip, which seems to be nothing more than a slightly edgier Disney Channel original movie, is another title in that line of films that completely boggle my mind and one that I’ll concede will no doubt entertain the younger audience and completely anger the older viewers who are forced to watch it.
After graduating high school, Melanie Porter (Raven Symone) is accepted into a prestigious college…nine hundred miles away. Despite wanting to keep her close to home, her father (Martin Lawrence) concedes and the two go on a road trip to check out the new college, taking detour after detour along the way. The pair finally find their way to Melanie’s dream college and her father and mother must learn to let her move on with her life, as Melanie must learn how to treat her parents with her new found freedom away at college. The film also stars Donnie Osmond and Disney Channel stars Lucas Grabeel and Brenda Song.
I can tell you right now that I took nothing away from this film except for a greater appreciation of time passing. I found there to be nothing interesting about this film and by the time the credits rolled I wondered if I’d just spent the last eighty minutes of my life wisely or if I’d later regret it on my death bed when I recall that time I’d watched College Road Trip.
The film itself contains the same standard of family comedy shtick that can be expected; a father can’t let go of his daughter as his daughter rebels from being held too tight. The two eventually learn to love each other anyway and it all turns into a super happy song and dance…literally. Symone busts out into a musical number randomly in the film, which seems incredibly out of place, but hey…I guess whatever helps sell the film.
I shouldn’t knock the film quite so much; I’m simply not in its demographic and I’m sure if I was sixteen years younger I’d find it hilarious and quite entertaining, not to mention I’d lap up seeing some of the more popular Disney Channel stars in feature film roles. As is I just didn’t find much to enjoy in the film, although the pig was, admittedly, quite cute. I’m sure he’ll see his own spin-off film down the line.
While my film reviews are usually twice as long as this, I just don’t have anything to say about this one. It’s a children’s film and really isn’t anything I can comment too much on. Recommended if you enjoy the childish Disney Channel entertainment or have children in the house. Otherwise just Skip It, as it’s nothing that fans of Martin Lawrence will be impressed with (considering how foul mouthed his comedy usually is, it’s rather surprising what this one pushed out).
College Road Trip arrives on DVD in a standard white DVD case with a slipcase mirroring the art underneath it. Inserts include a Movie Rewards code, a coupon for upgrading to the Blu-ray edition of the film and an insert detailing the disc contents of the film. Nothing special to see here; disc art is the same as the cover art and menus for the DVD mimic the weird cartoony CGI scene transitions from the film. Video is a strong 2.35:1 transfer (a full screen transfer is available as well) that’s accompanied by a Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround track that tosses sound around the room on more than a few occasions, but nothing that’ll blow you away.
Moving onto the extras we first have two audio commentaries. Why anyone would want to listen to them is a mystery unto itself, as that’d require watching the film an additional two times, but ‘tis the life of a DVD reviewer, I suppose. The first track with Actress Raven-Symone and Director Roger Kumble is the livelier of the two, containing more discussions of on-set antics while writers Emi Mochizuki and Carrie Evans are more technically focused. Neither is worth checking out, as I really don’t think this film is something that’s going to require a lot of in-depth discussion. Near three hours of combined extras on this set definitely pushes the marker for what could be considered sane for a film of this type. For some reason the commentaries are on the widescreen version only, as if it’d be incredibly difficult to put the audio on the full screen version as well; very strange.
All extras on this set, aside from the “Double Dutch Bus” Music Video (3:16) which is a 16×9 image boxed into a 4×3 frame, are presented in anamorphic widescreen. The first is “Raven’s Video Diary” (9:57), which appears to be some semi-unscripted discussions with cast members (some of it flows almost too fluidly to be truly spontaneous). “Deleted Scenes” (12:37) and “Alternate Scenes” (3:36) include commentary with director Roger Kumble on all sections (ten deleted scenes and two alternate scenes). Considering how I feel about the film already, I’m sure it’s obvious my take on the deleted/alternate scenes—watch them only if you need to, there isn’t anything here of any value.
Next we have “Gag Reel” (2:49) which is the most fun I had on the disc, mainly due to Donny Osmond’s character. He cracks up and forgets lines so often that I had no choice but to laugh. Finally we get “On the Set: Double Dutch Bus” (3:27), which is the making-of for the aforementioned music video. Nothing special, but its here if you want it.
Overall College Road Trip can be Skipped. This isn’t any kind of sleeper hit or anything; it’s a film meant for a certain audience and unless you fit that demographic, chances are you aren’t going to want to touch it.
College Road Trip is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.