College Road Trip (Blu-ray) [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray A - America - Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Pat Pilon (6th August 2008).
The Film

With a title like 'College Road Trip', you'd expect the movie to have 'Animal House'-type shenanigans, and with the director of 'Cruel Intentions' and the creator of the too-raunchy-for-TV 'Manchester Prep' show, you'd expect this movie to be filled with raunch and raciness; however, 'College Road Trip', directed by Roger Kumble, has no more shenanigans than what you see in 'The Muppet Show' and is no more raciness than in the typical 'Sesame Street' episode.

I want to spend the least amount of time talking about this movie because there's really no use in talking about it. The reason for this is simple – the least amount of time spent on the movie, the better it is. There's not really anything going for it, even for a Disney movie. It's tired, unfunny and, in some scenes, downright annoying.

Disney is never known for being subtle or daring in their choice of movies, and this one will never by any stretch of the imagination will ever be described as 'subtle' or 'daring'. Overprotective James Porter (Martin Lawrence) is intent on sending his daughter Melanie (Raven-Symoné) to the nearest college he can, Northwestern, while she has aspirations of going a bit farther, Georgetown. The pair, for reasons that don't need to be recounted here, go on a trip to Georgetown to see the college. En route, they encounter various problems trying to get to Georgetown.

After about 3 1/2 minutes of watching this movie, I was annoyed, and after 5 minutes I really didn't like this movie. Martin Lawrence starts off one-dimensional and it's downhill from there. With two lines of his narration you know his character thoroughly. He does the same schtick he's always done, only this time it's in G mode, instead of PG-13 mode. He goes through a ridiculously predictable arc, and is annoying through every one of the steps his character takes. Raven-Symoné is likewise one-dimensional, but her character doesn't try to change, which makes her less annoying.

The gags from start to finish are not funny and can be seen from a mile away. The movie even seems to forget some of the jokes. For example, the son, Trey (Eshaya Draper), wants his father to give a letter to the Department of Defence. James tells him he'll have to give the letter to them himself (as a joke, you see, because he doens't want to give a kid's letter to the government, think of the ridicule, for crying out loud), so, Trey sneaks into the car and ends up being on the road trip with his father and sister. His letter is completely forgotten. Now, this movie isn't about him, so it's not too bad if he's forgotten, but it's the one reason his character is on the trip and it's important to him, so why hide that away? It seems like a sloppy device to bring him along. (The deleted scenes show the outcome of this, but it's not even hinted at in the movie.)

I was never much of a Disney guy, even as a child, and I don't remember watching anything so caricatured and tired. I'm not sure who the target audience should be, because the stars are too old for the tone of the movie, and the acting style is far too obvious and overplayed to appeal to teens. In the end, the movie is pretty annoying and not worth watching, even thought the title and director seem to imply something else. In the best 'South Park' tradition, I call shenanigans on this movie!

Video

2.35:1 widescreen, using the MPEG4/AVC codec. The picture is good overall, but seems to be missing a bit of slight detail in some scenes. The colours are accurate, and the contrast is good enough. Grain is never an issue, and I never saw any edge enhancement or things of that nature. The picture does seem a bit soft compared to some of the other Blu-rays I've seen but that doesn't really take away from the movie. For the target audience, there’s really no problem but videophiles will probably find something want something sharper.

Audio

Disney really loves their PCM tracks. This movie comes with one English PCM 5.1 track, as well as an English track and Dolby Digital 5.1, and a French Dolby Digital 5.1 track. The lossless track is not that much different from the Dolby Digital tracks, but it's still very nice. For the most part, the movie isn't too active, but the track has no problems handling the moments the car crashes or Mr. Lawrence goes crazy.
English (HoH), French and Spanish subtitles are here

Extras

Disney was really nice with the movies providing some pretty plentiful extras, some of them actually interesting. First up is the audio commentary with director Roger Kumble and actress Raven-Symoné. These two have a nice time talking about the movie and I actually enjoyed the track a whole lot more than the movie itself. These two laugh at some of the technical issues with the movie, and laugh at all the inside jokes and on-set stories that happened. They also talk about the locations and the script (and its changes). It's oddly enough a nice commentary with no dead spots. There's also another audio commentary with writers Emi Mochizuki and Carrie Evans this time. These two seem more content to watch the movie. As the writers, you’d think they would have a lot to say, but they don't really want to talk too much about their movie, it seems. They start out pretty chatty, pointing out the myriad changes between their original script and what ended up on screen. For example, the different colleges Melanie wanted to go to are mentioned. They also comment on the movie, pointing out what scenes they like. It's an okay commentary but the other one is better.

Up next is Raven’s Video Diary (9:56), which has the star walking around the set interviewing various actors and crew for her blog. It's cute, and you get to see what the atmosphere was like on set.

A total of 12 deleted scenes are up next. The scenes are: 'Mock Trial, Not a Basketball Game' (0:26), 'Interrogation' (1:54), 'A Negotiation (1:34)
A Big Misunderstanding' (3:52), 'I Want My Rice' (0:26), 'Albert at the Wedding' (0:25), 'I Like Coffee' (0:32), 'Arriving at Grandma's' (0:55), 'Whatever Makes My Daughter Happy' (1:27) and 'Albert & Trey Reporting for Duty' (0:35). The scenes are pretty pointless, because they don't really add anything to the movie, save for one small detail that could be gathered by the audience. Moreoever, they're not really funny, either. You have an optional director commentary on the scenes, where he explains why they were cut and what reshoots, if any, took place. A couple of Alternate Scenes are also found. An Alternate Opening (2:28) shows a different introduction for Martin Lawrence, showing him too competent as a person, it seems. There are two Alternate Endings (1:01), as well, neither of them pretty funny. The optional director commentary explains why the opening and ending were changed.

A relatively funny Gag Reel (2:47) is next. You see people forgetting lines and cracking up after others finish theirs. There are a few funny moments here.

After that, there's the 'Double Dutch Bus' Music Video (3:16). This is an actual music video, and doesn't simply contain clips from the movie. Now, the video looks somewhat low budget, but it's well done for what it is, even if is the song is a bit annoying. You also have the On the Set: Double Dutch Bus (3:27) featurette. This featurette is longer than the music video itself. It has Miss Raven-Symoné talking about the music video while you see rehearsals and on-set shooting.

As for the last part of the DVD. Some Sneak Peeks are here. You have a Disney on Blu-ray ad (1:50) (also a start-up trailer), 'A Nightmare Before Christmas' (2:07) (also a start-up trailer), 'The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian' (2:07), 'Tinker Bell' and a Disney rewards ad (0:20) (also a start-up trailer) are here. There is also a start-up trailer of a generic Disney ad (0:52).

Overall

The Film: D Video: B- Audio: B- Extras: B- Overall: C

 


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