Running Time: 83 mins
Rated: Rated G (some comedic violence)
Choosing which college to attend can be the most exciting and thrilling time of a young US woman's life, unless your overprotective father isn't quite ready to let you go. In College Road Trip, Melanie (Raven-Symoné) is eagerly looking forward to her first big step towards independence when she plans a "girls only' road trip to check out prospective universities. But when her overbearing police chief father (Lawrence) insists on escorting her instead, she soon finds her dream trip has turned into a nightmare adventure full of comical misfortune and turmoil.
Even for the comic road trip genre, College Road Trip is very lame indeed. This film is repetitively episodic with a silly script. It has every road film cliché imaginable: the flat tyre; getting lost in the woods; an out control animal (this time it is a pig); an interrupted wedding; choreographed song and dance routines; a frat party; a groovy black grandma; and a police chase. The four writers threw everything they had at screen and still none of it sticks.
The only surprise is to see Donny Osmond in a lead role, but even that alerts us to how sweet this film's ending is going to be. Even for a Disney film the final moments in College Road Trip are sickeningly saccharine.
All this would not matter if it were not for the important issue underlying the screen play, how a culture of deceit can arise when parents cannot let go of their children and allow young adults to make adult decisions.
It is a matter of some Catholic embarrassment that the university Melanie wants to get into is the Jesuit's prestigious Georgetown University at Washington DC. The Jesuits clearly did not cooperate with this film because none of the scenes supposedly on their campus are in fact there, and even when Melanie and her father look up at the founders of Georgetown in the Great Hall, there is not a Jesuit priest to be seen. I don't think so. If I were president of Georgetown I would sue for institutional defamation.
Save your money at the box office and head in another direction.
Walt DisneyOut August 6
Fr Richard Leonard SJ is the director of the Australian Catholic office for Film & Broadcasting.