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The Independent Critic

Martin Lawrence, Raven-Symone, Donny Osmond, Molly Ephraim
Roger Kumble
Carrie Evans, Ken Daurio, Emi Mochizuki, Cinco Paul
Rated G
83 Mins.
 "College Road Trip" Review 
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The good news is that "College Road Trip" features Donny Osmond's best performance in nearly 30 years.

The bad news is, however, that Osmond's only other live action movie performance in the past 30 years was in the stunningly abysmal "Goin' Coconuts" from 1978.

Hey, but at least he's getting better, right?

The same cannot be said for Martin Lawrence, who'd just proven in "Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins" that he can actually play it subtle on occasion and, dare I say it, actually be entertaining.

Oh well, maybe he shot this film first and "Roscoe Jenkins" really is a sign of hope.

Maybe not.

"College Road Trip" is really as bad as the trailers we've been seeing in movie theatres and on television for the past few weeks.

Attempting to rest on the popularity of its teen star, Raven-Symone ("The Cosby Show" and Disney Channel fare) along with Martin Lawrence's far too loyal following, "College Road Trip" is the story of Chicago police chief James Porter (Martin Lawrence). Porter has it is in his mind that his soon to be college-bound daughter will attend college at nearby Northwestern University, however, his daughter (Raven-Symone) has always dreamed of heading off to Georgetown University.

When Melanie lands her interview at Georgetown, she and dad head off on a college road trip that is neither endearingly sweet nor remotely funny. Along the way, they attract the likes of a wholesome, "Up With People" kind of father/daughter team on a similar mission (Osmond and Molly Ephraim") and, of course, do the sort of forced father/daughter bonding so common in these sorts of films.

Stowaway brother Trey (Eshaya Draper) adds nothing to the proceedings, while a host of side supporting characters appear to have no purpose other than setting up another lame comic or sentimental scene in this stunningly tame G-rated fare.

Director Roger Kumble proved he could handle light and sweet comedy with the surprisingly successful "Just Friends," however, he hasn't a clue how to manage Lawrence's larger than life personality that is simply obnoxious here.

On only a single occasion do I recall laughing during "College Road Trip," and even this scene is seriously diluted by the number of scenes that are seemingly dumped by Kumble and myriad of screenwriters.

Given the film's dreadful trailers, it would be rather stunning to hear anyone actually say "I went into "College Road Trip" expecting a really great film." In this case, there is truth in advertising. "College Road Trip" looks like a really crappy film and "College Road Trip" is a really crappy film.

Look on the bright side, however. This IS Donny Osmond's best movie performance in 30 years.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic
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