“This is cruelty,” says Melanie Porter (Raven-Symoné), in reference to the road trip she and her father, James (Martin Lawrence), are making from Illinois to Georgetown University. Amen, sister! Here is an ostensibly wholesome Disney film only a two-year-old could possibly feel they’ve learned something from: about family values, race, gender, pigs (yes, pigs—namely their canny chess-playing, coffee bean-savoring, bed-bouncing, human-stalking capabilities). College Road Trip hurts more than just the eyes and ears, it wreaks havoc on one’s humane sensibilities, leaving no race steamrolled in Melanie and James’s father-daughter bonding tour, though to be fair, whites bear the brunt of its shrill sense of humor: MADtv and Best Week Ever’s respective unfunniest members, Will Sasso and Jessica St. Clair, happily reinforce honky stereotypes with as much grinning gusto as Lawrence keeps the flame of minstrelsy burning. I haven’t decided if Lawrence should be pitied or decried for his bug-eyed mugging, but to be fair, Ms. Raven-Symoné is equally game: Every day looking more and more like the one and only Divine, the former Cosby kid performs for the entirely of the film with her teeth, eyes and high-pitched squeal. Her character is smart, but apparently not smart enough to call out a Georgetown tour guide’s casual homophobia or prevent the filmmakers from reducing a bus full of Japanese tourists to a giggling backup choir for a shamelessly impromptu lip-sync of one of the singer-actress’s songs. That and punching Donny Osmond in the fucking face.
- Walt Disney Pictures
- 83 min
- Roger Kumble
- Emi Mochizuki, Carrie Evans, Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio
- Martin Lawrence, Raven-Symoné, Kym E. Whitley, Adam Lefevre, Eugene Jones, Brenda Song, Margo Harshman, Lucas Grabeel, Matthew Schlein, Eshaya Draper, Will Sasso, Geneva Carr
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