Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Cast: Martin Lawrence, Raven-Symoné, Donny Osmond
Extras: Gag Reel, Deleted Scenes, Music Video, Featurettes, Commentaries
Martin Lawrence seemed to have it all going for him at one time, his hit show "Martin" ran on Fox for a highly successful five year run from 1992 through 1997, and in the show he introduced a wide variety of characters and displayed an edgy talent that seemed to suggest he was the second coming of some sort of comedic revolution. And then he started making movies, and it has really been downhill from there, even if many of them turned out to be blockbusters. I have yet to find a film with the very talented Martin Lawrence that can even hold my interest for very long, they all seem devoid of any thought and usually terribly written, and he always seems to be typecast. I always felt like he could do better work and was simply chasing a paycheck. His widely documented, erratic personal life never seemed to slow down his output, though, and now we have perhaps his most family-friendly film to date, "College Road Trip", which comes to Disney Blu-ray, and we are here to give it a check up.
From Roger Kumble, who also brought us "Cruel Intentions" and "The Sweetest Thing", "College Road trip" is the type of film that already has a built in audience (of Disney Channel fans who watch the series Symoné is associated with "That's So Raven") who do not go to movies for any reason other than to be harmlessly distracted from whatever it is they do on a daily basis. The film's title alone suggests target marketing at its best. Or worst really, because they haven't even tried to put anything in this film for the rest of us, and that is almost unforgiveable. Of course I didn't get my hopes up when the meat of the trailer featured a pig doing back flips. I found out that this film is just as stupid as I thought it might be even from my safe distance. The whole mess is just one poorly timed physical comedy routine, and the most likeable thing in the film is the pig, what the hell happened to Marin Lawrence?
The premise is exactly as you would expect with this type of fluff, an ambitious and determined young woman named Melanie Porter (Raven-Symoné) has made up her mind to go and look for the right college to attend, and decides to make it a girls only affair. Her father, being a policeman, and obsessively overprotective, really seems like he has an unhealthy obsession with not letting his daughter grow up and especially go off to college. So he intervenes and takes her on a college road trip himself, with the last school on the journey being her main interest, Georgetown University in Washington D.C.
The whole road trip goes pathetically wrong and we are forced to succumb to an endless barrage of unfunny routines that are supposed to be zany and amusing, but the timing is off terribly, and everything that happens (including car failure, a pig ruining a wedding, and other such wacky trials of life) seems like a dumb excuse to get Lawrence all worked up, which is pretty easy to begin with. He ends up hiding under the bed at a sorority house and all sorts of other creepy and illegal acts, but somehow this irrational and over the top obsession with his daughter trying to go ff on her own to college is supposed to be funny. The two funniest things the film has to offer are a pig and Donny Osmond making fun of white people.
Well, it's obvious to me that Disney underestimated the intelligence of even the teeny bopper audience with this one. Or so I hope, because if not, the world is in serious trouble. This is a film I would feel guilty showing even my six year old, something about it seems dangerously stupid, as if it may be contagious or something, but whatever, everyone should stay far away from this, it is a piece of crap. "RV" was better, and we all know that is an insult of epic proportions. I could have made a better film than this. I'm sure of it. And I don't make movies. And I'm not trashing this film because I'm not in touch with my inner child, but because it underestimates the children and the adults, and that's not necessary, is it?
As for the transfer, our Blu-ray features a solid 1080p transfer that doesn't disappoint, and in fact looks quit impressive, which isn't surprising considering it is a Disney release from a print that is almost quit literally fresh from theaters. The black levels are very steady and the overall image is very crisp and quite sharp, I certainly didn't have any quality issues with the picture.
The audio also shines featuring a decent 5.1 Uncompressed track that seems to be the standard for comedies in high def these days, while it certainly doesn't call for a huge amount of surround effects, the film does come across clean and certainly the dialogue shines through quite nicely, never drowned out by effects or music.
As for the special features we have not one but two audio commentaries, the first featuring Roger Kumble and Raven Symoné and it highlights the fun the two had working together and what not, this is probably the giggliest commentary I have ever heard. It sounds like Martin Lawrence was great to work with and blah blah blah. We also have a commentary from writers Emi Mochizuki and Carrie Evans which is probably never going to be listened to by anyone other than reviewers like myself, that said it is actually somewhat enlightening as to how one goes about the creative process and how it translates onto the screen.
'Raven's Video Diary' is ten minutes and includes footage of the child star taking a camera around the set and interviewing various cast and crew members. We also have fifteen minutes of deleted scenes with optional commentary by Kumble on why he decided to make specific cuts. None of the scenes stands out or is worthy of mention. Also featured is a three minute gag reel, 'Alternate Opening & Endings' and a music video from Raven Symoné called 'Double Dutch Bus'. All in all a pretty well put together group of predictable and appropriate extras for the film we are discussing.
"College Road Trip" certainly is something teenage girls may be interested in, but sadly the rest of us are left with nothing to do but wait until the thing is over. Fans of Symoné may want to give this a rental, and the Blu-ray does feature a decent picture and a somewhat surprising amount of features. But many may want to simply steer clear of this release and perhaps find something better to do.