‘College Road Trip’ is a bust

Katie Young

Courtesy Walt Disney Pictures

Credit: Ron Soltys

College Road Trip

Starring Martin Lawrence, Raven-Symoné, Donny Osmond

Directed by Roger Kumble

Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures

Stater rating (out of five): 1.5

Imagine you have to sit at the little kid’s table at a family function. You remember it being way more enjoyable as a child, but you can still manage to get a few laughs out of the situation. That’s how people over the age of 12 will feel while watching Disney’s latest release, College Road Trip.

The film, which stars Disney favorite Raven-Symoné, is just about what you’d expect from a G-rated film about college. It’s completely unrealistic, sugar-coated and, at points, nonsensical. Come on, a highly caffeinated genius pig doing back flips on a hotel bed? Even 6-year-olds might find that to be too much.

College Road Trip follows smart, responsible Melanie Porter (Symoné) and her overbearing father (Martin Lawrence) on a trip to Georgetown University. He wants her to stay closer to home and attend Northwestern University. She wants to go to Georgetown, study abroad and (gasp) go to parties! Oh, snap! The two are forced to evaluate their father-daughter relationship and drive cross-country to get Melanie to Georgetown in time to meet with the admissions board.

And of course in highly Disney-ized fashion, hijinks ensue. They fight, they make up and eventually they run into a crazed Donny Osmond and his unbearable daughter. (And I mentioned the genius pig, right?)

The acting by Symoné and Lawrence doesn’t do much to help the contrived story. Symoné does her usual sassy bit, giving her otherwise perfect character the slightest bit of edge. Lawrence does nothing to save his tanking career and overplays his part as much as possible. The only redeeming performance is that of Melanie’s little brother, Trey, played by Eshaya Draper. In his first feature film he manages to upstage a veteran cast, just by playing a weird little kid.

What is most bothersome about the film is that it’s about college, yet it’s marketed for kids who are still fans of “That’s So Raven.” Certainly, Disney must be smarter than that. At times it even seems like the story is more for adults, reassuring them that the little ones they brought along will become responsible young adults and never resent their parents for anything.

But for all its faults, College Road Trip has a sweet message (as all Disney films are expected to.)

Contact all reporter Katie Young at [email protected].