College Road Trip
Review by Jack Foley
MARTIN Lawrence resorts to increasingly desperate measures in search of laughs for his latest star-vehicle, a tedious family road-movie that stalls before it even gets going.
He plays control freak dad James Porter, who wants nothing more than to see his beloved teenage daughter Melanie (The Disney Channel’s Raven-Symone) attend Northwestern University because it’s a short drive from the family home.
So, when faraway Georgetown provides a more appealing offer, he’s forced to accompany her cross-country to the interview in a desperate bid to deter her from taking it up.
Along for the ride are his younger son and their chess-playing pig, a couple of Melanie’s friends (albeit sporadically) and – even worse – a hopelessly upbeat father (Donny Osmond) and his similarly chipper daughter.
Roger Kumble’s film is a shrill, tedious experience that gets progressively more irritating the longer it lasts. Most of the central characters exist to scream, sing or shout at each other, while comedy mileage is attempted to be gained from the Porters’ encounters with a wedding party, some Japanese tourists and a skydiving outfit.
Sadly, none of the shenanigans are capable of mustering even the slightest chuckle given the laboured nature of the script and the unappealing performances of the cast.
Lawrence is once again out-performed by a co-star (in this case, the ride-along pig), Raven-Symone delivers the type of high-pitched performance that only dogs can hear and Osmond is just plain annoying whenever he appears on-screen.
A typically sentimental conclusion, in which everyone learns a valuable life lesson, is just rubbing salt in the wounds.
If there’s any justice, Kumble, whose past ‘credits’ include The Sweetest Thing and Just Friends, should now be given a lengthy ban from getting behind the camera for any further comedy violations.
Running time: 83mins
UK DVD Release: January 26, 2009