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Melanie Porter (Raven-Symone)is a talented high school graduate who has selected a University 800 miles from home. Her over protective father, James (Martin Lawrence) doesn't want her to be so far away, so he cooks up a plot to try to convince her to go to a local University. On the guise of going to her selected university, he forces a visit to his preferred (close to home) school. This is a typical road trip movie with lost cars, bumming rides on buses and planes, covering that difficult time of life when a father loses control of his daughter.Written by
I have never seen a Martin Lawrence movie before, and this movie did make me into a new fan. I have seen his material here and there, but his material never has grabbed me. But today, I went with my mother and my eight-year-old niece to see "College Road Trip." I fully expected to be disappointed, but it turned out to be okay for me. Not the best and not the worst, but entertaining here and there.
The story goes that Raven Symone is Melanie, who aspires to become a lawyer at Northwestern University in her hometown suburban Chicago, but gets a letter of acceptance to Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Her three girlfriends are going, and she wants to go to. But her father James (Lawrence) fears losing his little girl, and wants to accompany her on the trip. Tagging along is her little brother Trey and their pet pig Albert, who hide in the trunk the first quarter of the journey. That leaves behind Mom Michelle (Kym Whitley).
On the way, they stop at Northwestern University, and who do they run into - Donny Osmond as Doug Greenhut and Molly Ephraim as his daughter Wendy. Both have the same exact aspirations - She wants to go to Georgetown and he tags along with her. And when James and Melanie make pitstops, Doug and Wendy end up at those same stops. Doug and Wendy's annoyingly overperky behavior and singing and dancing are the highlights of this movie. They are so loud they make James and Melanie cringe, but they always pop up at the same stops. And when James' car breaks down, they get into Doug and Wendy's truck. But my real favorite part is when they lose Doug and Wendy along the way, get on a bus, and get all the Asian tourists to sing and dance to Frankie Smith's 1981 hit, "Double Dutch Bus."
As James and Melanie get closer, they visit James' mother in Pittsburgh, and James gets to come to terms with his long lost mother about letting go of children. Finally, they sky dive all the way to Georgetown, where, who else, Wendy becomes Melanie's roommate and then the two would head to Japan.
Donny Osmond and the pig do take away from Martin Lawrence's and Raven Symone's performances. The pig is funny, especially when Lawrence disguises him as a baby in a quaint hotel where no pets are allowed and then makes a big mess at a wedding taking place at that hotel. Osmond's preppy, squeaky clean, teen idol image is played to great exaggeration, his character's wife and daughter add to the perkiness. But Martin Lawrence and his family are sadly undermined by Donny Osmond and the pig, which is the film's major weakness. For 83 minutes, it is not super slow, it does go fast, but there are bumps and curves along, and then there is forced sentiment, when Melanie finally gets to say goodbye to her parents, amid the manic craziness. Martin Lawrence, like many comedians of his generation who turn to movies, is more of a comedian and less of an actor whose performances often resort to overacted slapstick.
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