College Road Trip
Aiming for the generational conflict of Freaky Friday, director Roger Kumble’s family-comedy-drama focuses on trust issues between high-flying teen Melanie (Raven-Symoné) and her over-protective father, police chief James Porter (Martin Lawrence). When Melanie decides she wants to check out the universities in which she might pursue her academic career, Porter decides to be her an uninvited escort, provoking predictable father-daughter disagreements and leading to pat, obvious resolutions.
Having previously made a name for himself with Dangerous Liaisons updates Cruel Intentions 1 and 2, Kumble’s take on family comedy reveals him as a talentless journeyman. Similar in paternally-frustrated tone to Ice Cube’s Are We There Yet? Lawrence’s portrait of Porter as a caring yet ridiculously obsessive father lacks any kind of gravitas; setting up Donny Osmond as Doug, a rival father whose smooth relationship with his own daughter makes Porter jealous, indicates the depth of family psychology that Collage Road Trip completely fails to explore. Featuring a has-been like Osmond is bad enough, but throw a comedy pig into the mix to distract from Lawrence’s endless range of unfunny eye-popping faces, and the result is a bland bore that makes Lawrence’s Big Momma’s House franchise look colourful in comparison.
General release from Fri 22 Aug.