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Movie Review

College Road Trip a.k.a. “La Route des campus”

Reviewed by: Mia J. Best

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults, Teens, Kids, Family
1 hr. 54 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
March 7, 2008 (wide)
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures

Fear, Anxiety and Worry… What does the Bible say? Answer

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Featuring: Martin Lawrence, Raven-Symoné, Effrem J. Adams, Dennis Albanese, Rachel Barker, Andrew Bradley, Emily Rose Branigan, Gail Bugeja, Jennifer Cahill, Geneva Carr, Joey Chanlin, Grizz Chapman, Tara Copeland, Greg D'Agostino, Jon Daly, Kaitlyn Delaney, Sarah Derene, Molly Ephraim, Alexander Fagan, Julia Frisoli, Joseph R. Gannascoli, Les Gardonyi, Andrew Goldfarb, Christopher Jon Gombos, Lucas Grabeel, Margo Harshman, Amy Hohn, Edward James Hyland, Eugene Jones III, Jason Kolotouros, Kristian Kordula, Kate Lacey, Michael Landes, Joe Lo Truglio, Joel Mack, Matt Marcella, Michael McDerman, Patrick Thomas McMahon, Nicholas Leiter Mele, Donny Osmond, [more]
Director: Roger Kumble
Producer: Louanne Brickhouse, Kristin Burr, Andrew Gunn, Anthony Katagas, Ann Marie Sanderlin
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures

“They just can’t get there fast enough.”

Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “Choosing which college to go to can be the most exciting and thrilling time of a young woman’s life, unless your overprotective father isn’t quite ready to let you go. In the Disney family comedy COLLEGE ROAD TRIP, Melanie (Raven Symone) 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 (Martin Lawrence) insists on escorting her instead, she soon finds her dream trip has turned into a hilarious nightmare adventure full of comical misfortune and turmoil.”

The comedy is broad, the hi-jinks are outlandish, and the slap-stick is of the Lucille Ball variety in Disney’s G-rated film, “College Road Trip,” starring Martin Lawrence and Raven Symone. Disney doesn’t disappoint its core audience of families with toddlers and “tweenagers” (children between the ages of 9-12) with its predictable formula for comedy—loving family with beautiful female lead, check; comedic father (usually clueless), check; genius younger sibling, check; super intelligent animal, check; and friends from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, check. But even though much of the dialogue is cliche, and the jokes are familiar, they still provoke belly-tickling laughter.

The movie opens with James Porter (Lawrence) narrating about a father’s fear of losing his little girl, which he thinks can be managed with obsessive planning. So since his daughter, Melanie (Raven) was just a baby, her dad, who happens to be the police chief, has tactically mapped out her life the way one would plan an undercover sting operation. His plan for keeping his little girl safe and close to home after high school is for her to attend nearby Northwestern University. The conflict is that Melanie, an aspiring lawyer, has a chance to interview for admission at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, which is more than 600 miles from home.

James’ fears are heightened when he overhears his coworkers bragging about their wild college days. So rather than let Melanie ride to Georgetown with her friends, he ambushes her by organizing his own “father-daughter” college road trip with a few strategic (and some genuine) surprises along the way. Melanie’s mother Michelle (Kim E. Whitely) stays at home while her little brother Trey (Eshaya Draper) stows away with his pet pig Albert.

It is refreshing it is to see Martin Lawrence, who built much of his comedic career on crass humor laced with profanity, as a caring, albeit overprotective, father. This is a polar opposite to the character in Lawrence’s other 2008 release “Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins.” Lawrence and Raven are both veterans with physical comedy and play well as father and daughter. But it’s the pet pig Albert that garners some of the heartiest laughs.

Special guest star Donny Osmond plays Doug, an exuberant, show-tune-singing father along with his college bound daughter Wendy (Molly Ephraim). This duo’s enthusiasm is played to the extreme-sport level, as if they are competing for a gold medal of optimism. And, though jarring at first, their characters become endearing by the end of the film.

The film’s message to parents is to realize that your babies will grow up, and eventually you have to trust them to make their own decisions.

There is tremendous pressure on parents to worry about their children. When a child prepares to go to college, parents are expected to experience separation anxiety. Worry can turn a sound mind into a fearful and paranoid one, like Lawrence’s character James Porter. But the Bible clearly tells us that fear, which is another form of worry or anxiety, is not of God.

The Bible says in 2 Timothy 1:7 that God did not give us a spirit of fear, and in 1 John 4:18 that perfect love casts out all fear, because fear has torment. God does not bless us with children to be in torment. And Jesus taught that worry is wasted energy, in Matthew 6:27 when he said,

“Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Of course not.” —(NLT)

For parents who may be tempted to worry about their children, Proverbs 22:6 reassures us that if we teach our children to choose the right path, when they are older, they will remain upon it.

Each child has a purpose. Psalm 139:13 says that God knew us in our mother’s womb before we were born. Just like Jesus, each of us is born with a purpose. If parents raise their children in the way they should go, which is teaching them to live a godly life, then they must trust God to take them the rest of the way and help them discover their purpose.

I would recommend this movie for Christian audiences for its appeal to all families and its moviemaking quality. I do not recall the Lord’s name taken in vain once or the use of any profanity throughout the film. The violence was limited to two characters getting shocked by a Taser and a comedic duel with golf clubs. The closest thing to a sexual reference was Melanie finding a male character attractive. Melanie did, however, lie to her father once and did not show remorse for it. This was her way of acting out against his controlling nature.

In Ephesians 6:1 the Bible tells children to obey their parents. And in that same chapter in verse 4, it instructs fathers not to provoke their children to wrath. The Message Bible states it this way,

“Fathers, don’t exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master.”

By the end of the film, James comes to terms with the fact that his little girl Melanie is no longer little and begins to listen to her plans rather than trying to institute his plans.

Violence: Minor / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—My wife saw this movie before me and told me she was impressed with the character Raven played. I didn’t want to see it because of Martin Lawrence and Raven. They always seem to play crude and selfish characters. I didn’t agree with my wife at the beginning of the movie. Raven’s character lied to her parents and went to a party. This was a result of her fathers overprotective behavior forcing his daughter to lie. I hate it when movies display a hero with such flaws. That having been said, over the course of the movie I began to see that she was a good girl, poor choice aside. Martin Lawrence's character kept making the comment “where’d the time go” in reference to his daughter growing up so fast. I liked that statment and it reminded me to charish the time that I have with my children. It also reminded me of the song Cinderella by Stephen Curtis Chapman. Lawrence’s character made terrible choices in an effort to protect his daughter. I found his climbing into a girl’s dorm window and hiding under the bed all night particularly horrible. But the movie itself was clean, and taught some good lessons about being honest, trusting, and a good parent.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Chris Ransom, age 42
Positive—I really enjoyed this movie. It’s very cheesy and corny and cutsy. It seemed like a movie that came right off the Disney Channel. I don’t know if its because of the cheesiness, or if its because Raven was in it. Anyhow, this is such a cute, light-hearted, heart-warming family movie. You could let the youngest one in your house watch this movie and not to worry about anything offensive. It’s probably the cleanest movie Hollywood has made this year, or will make for a very long time. No cussing at all. No innuendos or potty humor or crude jokes. Just pure, clean fun. The parents weren’t even portrayed as dumb like they are in most TV Shows or movies. It’s a great movie and I encourage you to watch it. :) At times the acting was very over-dramatic, but that’s what made it so corny to begin with. :) Anyway, College Road Trip is a definate thumbs up.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Sarah, age 18
Positive—The lead character in this film seeks to please her father but is also growing up and has some of her own opinions and ideas. Basically, it is a comedy so you’ll laugh a lot. Never the less, there are some serious and touching scenes. She refers to herself as a “good girl” and this film, unlike many films, does not treat being good as a bad thing. She is a high school senior who laughs, dances and acts silly with her girlfriends for fun. Basically, she is wholesome and well educated. The fathers in the film seem to really adore their daughters and want to protect them, which is fun to see even when Martin Lawrence's method of protecting his daughter get a bit farfetched. Donny Osmond is hysterically funny as one of the fathers. Compared to high school seniors in most films, the lead character and her friends are very wholesome. Although the script does not refer to religion, it does not mock wholesomeness and innocence.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Mary Sood, age 47
Positive—This was a truly wonderful movie-going experience. My husband and I took our 12 year old daughter and laughed until we cried! No ugly language, family drama without the typical “kids are right—parents are morons” set up. The overly protective father comes to see that his daughter can be trusted through a series of hilarious situations. Only two cases of “sneaky” behavior from Raven’s character and the little brother. She was supposed to be at the library and went to a teen party instead (only dancing). The little brother pulls a stow-away stunt to get in on the road trip but apologizes for scaring his parents. It’s one of the funniest, most touching films I’ve seen in a while. The slapstick and situational comedy is smart and the actors assume their roles with great believability. Raven is one of the producers. I’m so proud of the young lady she has become. We’ve enjoyed her since her days on Cosby! My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Lynn, age 38
Positive—I went to see this movie with my 15-year old daughter, at her request. We both loved it and were crying by the end of it! Me, because I realized it won’t be too many years before my daughter launches out on her own and goes to college, and her, I guess because of the same, leaving her Mom and Dad. Raven and Martin Lawrence were wonderful! The Mom was not as active in her daughter’s life as most Moms are, but the movie was mainly about the daughter and her dad and the growing-up relationship and trust that has to develop in order to learn to let go. I felt a little sorry for the son, because he did not seem to get nearly as much attention as the daughter, but, by the end of the movie, the parent’s seemed to be focusing on him. I love the pig too! So cute! Very funny scences throughout the movie—very clean—very refreshing! Nice family movie!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Beverly Shoemaker, age 37
Negative—I could’nt believe I took my grandchildren to see this movie. The slap sick comedy was so over the top, it almost became violent and vulgar. Also the clothing “Raven” wore revealed way too much! Where are all the bible movies with morals these days? I was so disgusted Disney would promote this rated G. I was dissapointed in this movie, we switched to “Spider-Wick Chronicles.”
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2
—Justin, age 65
Negative—In the first 15 minutes, I saw the lead lie to her father and go to a party instead of the library, demean her father in conversations with her friends, and the movie in general present the father as cluless and inept.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Tim, age 38
Comments from young people
Positive—This was a good movie. It was about a father who does not trust his daughter. He wants her to go to college only 40 miles from home. She wants to go 400 miles from home. My favorite part was the ending and the pig, Albert. Albert stares at the father; it is hilarious!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Lance, age 11
Positive—I thought “College Roadtrip” was one of the best movies I’ve ever seen! It was heartwarming and laugh out loud funny! I don’t remember anything offensive at all. I recomend this to anyone over the age of 5.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Abigail, age 11