The reviews have been negative. But for most, reviews are pretty off-base from what they think of the movie. College Road Trip, which was released into theaters on March 7 by Walt Disney Pictures, is a kids movie. No adult critic can give a kids movie justice. It's very rare in the least. Take Alvin and the Chipmunks, for example. Opening in December, Alvin was panned by critics but performed above expectations at the box office. In short, it doesn't matter what a critic says. They're here to guide us movie-goers and help us avoid films they have deemed distasteful. Well, here's our first shot at reviewing. Remember, we're here to guide, so don't take our word for law. However, we see College Road Trip in a much different light.
College Road Trip is about a father, police chief James Porter (Martin Lawrence), whose overprotective and controlling manner prevents him from accepting the fact that his daughter, Melanie (Raven-Symoné) wishes to spend her college career at Georgetown in Washington, D.C. rather than at Northwestern, a short distance from home. As a compromise, James and Melanie, along with Melanie's younger brother, Trey, and his pet pig, Albert, embark on a college road trip to Georgetown, where Melanie has an interview. The plot of the movie seems bland but as it unfolds on the screen, it becomes comedic.
Lawrence's portrayal as an overprotective father figure may bring accusations against him as overacting. In truth, he does overact. However, one must remember this is a kids film. Overacting is what the kids like. The kids will also be please with Raven's performance, which shows hints of her character, Raven Baxter, on the Disney Channel series "That's So Raven". Raven also performs her own version of "Double Dutch Bus", one that is slightly entertaining in the film, but is much better when played during the closing credits. While both are comedians, Lawrence's strong points in the film are the emotional scenes that are found in the handfuls and are sure to make any parent who has either experienced leaving home or having a child leave home feel for the characters. Also appearing in the cast are many Disney Channel stars, including Brenda Song ("The Suite Life of Zack and Cody") and Margo Harshman ("Even Stevens") as Nancy and Katie, two of Melanie's ditzy and shallow friends who have their own college road trip that intertwines with the Porters'. Lucas Grabeel of High School Musical also has a small role as a geeky boy.
However, the highlight of the film has to be Donny Osmand as Doug and Molly Ephraim as Wendy, a musical father-daughter pair also on a college road trip. Another highlight is, of course, the pig. While many of his stunts are clearly computer generated, he steels the show for the majority of the film.
The script itself is well-written. Although the plot is somewhat generic, humor is there (albeit, humor for the youngsters mainly). The strong point in the film is that cast, which overall, does a decent job of earning any success the film may have. Characters are not left by the wayside. In fact, most every character that appears shows up again sooner or later.
Critics hated it. Fans did not receive it much better. Us? We liked it. We give College Road Trip at B-.