College Road Trip
Rated G; Directed by Roger Kumble; Starring Martin Lawrence, Raven-Symoné, Kym Whitley, Donny Osmond, Eshaya Draper, Lucas Grabeel
I was trying to remember the last Martin Lawrence film that I enjoyed. My memory doesn’t seem to go back far enough. So, did College Road Trip allow me to enjoy one of his films again? Not just no, but hell no!
The attempts at family comedies that we get fed to us by film studios seem to rely on a once-funny comic forced to act stupid, but it all comes out okay as the family somehow bonds, no matter how stupid the father figure acts. We get this unfunny setup in College Road Trip. This time the plot has the comic/dad doing his best to be an idiot about his daughter going to college far from home. Raven-Symoné plays the daughter upset about her controlling father. Kym Whitley is the mother who puts up with her husband’s idiotic behavior. To ratchet up the “humor” add a son who is supposed to be a genius; then throw in a pet pig that also has genius qualities. Oh the comic opportunities. At least the pig is cute, even if the movie tries hard to make the pig scenes hilarious and fails badly. I don’t blame the pig.
The plot is weak and relies on stupid plot points and annoying stereotypes. Donny Osmond and Molly Ephraim play the new favorite obnoxious stereotypes in family films: the too happy, always singing family that annoys the more irritable and annoying main characters. Trust me, Osmond and Ephraim would make for a better road trip (okay, I do have to come clean here – that stereotype describes me and my family, and yes, we are fun to travel with…I think).
The movie just isn’t funny. Wedding mayhem, karaoke-singing Japanese tourists, and a battle on golf carts never provoke laughter. I laughed once in the film and that needed Lucas Grabeel and Donny Osmond to provide the one laugh. Martin Lawrence and Raven-Symoné overact, hamming it up more than the pig. Director Roger Kumble, stuck with a lemon, can’t find a way to pace scenes, with jokes telegraphed way in advance. The movie feels longer than it actually is.
College Road Trip is another in the genre of family films that are so unfunny that it ruins the genre. If Martin Lawrence is going to surprise me and make me enjoy his presence in another movie it will require him to find another film genre.