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HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: College Road Trip (1 Viewer)

Matt Hough

Senior HTF Member
Apr 24, 2006
Charlotte, NC
Real Name
Matt Hough

College Road Trip (Blu-ray)
Directed by Roger Kumble

Studio: Disney
Year: 2008
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 1080pAVC codec
Running Time: 83 minutes
Rating: G
Audio: PCM 5.1 English; Dolby Digital 5.1 English, French
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
MSRP: $ 34.99

Release Date: July 15, 2008
Review Date: July 10, 2008

The Film


A tepid comedy in the wholesome Disney family style, Roger Krumble’s College Road Trip is filled with the slapstick hijinks, ridiculous stunts and pratfalls, and predictable sentimentality that Disney patented over fifty years ago with the likes of The Shaggy Dog and The Parent Trap. And it certainly still seems to draw in the crowds despite its over-familiar feel and predictable touches. It’s not inspired filmmaking, but fans of many of the Disney Channel favorites (Raven, Lucas Grabeel, Brenda Strong, Molly Ephraim) won’t care. They get to see their favorites acting silly and wailing through a bunch of songs between slapstick set pieces. What more could you want?

Overprotective dad James (Martin Lawrence) wants his daughter Melanie (Raven-Symoné) going to Northwestern University in the fall, a mere forty miles away from home. Little does he know, however, that she’s secretly applied to Georgetown University more than 700 miles away and must appear for an interview the following week. As freaked out as he is once he learns of her own plans, he engineers a road trip to Georgetown with some unexpected stops along the way, all in an effort to get her to see the light and choose Northwestern. Needless to say, things go wrong almost immediately including the family’s precocious son Trey (Eshaya Draper) and his pet pot-bellied pig stowing away in the police van they’re using as their touring car, the GPS device carrying them far off their intended course, and innumerable situations where they barge into important functions of other people (a wedding, a golf game) causing complete disarray and destruction.

Unbelievably, four writers are given credit for the screenplay to this overly familiar family romp: Emi Mochizuki, Carrie Evans, Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio. You’d think that between them they could have come up with something more original than a chocolate fountain spewing goop on the father of the bride at a Pittsburgh wedding or that same man being driven into a lake on the golf course in Washington, D.C. But this is a Disney comedy, and often a lack of common sense and familiarity with comedy set-ups is the rule of the day. No more so than having a father-daughter combo (Donny Osmond-Molly Ephraim) whose touchy-feely, sing-along camaraderie is poles apart from the relationship that Lawrence and Raven-Symoné's characters have. Truth to tell, Osmond’s Doug is, in his old-fashioned way, far funnier (in the short term scheme of things) than the grimacing, overacted psycho-dad that Lawrence has to perform. But Lawrence and Raven are top-billed (Raven is also one of the film’s producers), and so one must expect some singing (Raven does “Double Dutch Bus” among other tunes), and Lawrence gets numerous showcases for his Disney style version of a hysterical paterfamilias.

College Road Trip is exactly what you’d expect from the Disney family comedy factory. You won’t be surprised at all to find out how familiar all of it inevitably seems if you choose to watch it.

Video Quality


The Panavision 2.35:1 aspect ratio of the original theatrical release is presented here in a 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. For the most part, it’s an exceptional transfer with solid, deeply saturated colors, flesh tones that are perfect and never too hot, deep blacks for the very few moments that contain any darkness, and a wonderfully dimensional look to the entire image. Only what appears to be an occasional edge halo spoils what is otherwise a perfect video transfer. The film has been divided into 14 chapters.

Audio Quality


The PCM 5.1 soundtrack (6.9 Mbps) has that typical front centric bent of most movie comedies, though with the musical interludes and the noisy slapstick food fights and other hijinks, there is occasional use of the rear surrounds and subwoofer. Still, they don’t get much of a consistent workout.

Special Features


The disc offers two audio commentaries: director Roger Kumble and co-star Raven-Symoné on the first and writers Emi Mochizuki and Carrie Evans on the second. Kumble and Raven have a great rapport, and their track is lively and full of fun information and fond remembrances of the shoot. (Raven giggles a lot during the commentary.) Exactly why a second commentary was needed is unclear especially since Mochizuki and Evans say little except for snickering occasionally at what they see on the screen. You will miss nothing skipping their track all together.

“Raven’s Video Diary” is a mixture of camcorder and EPK footage shot during the preparation of the film, mostly off-the-set looks at actors and production personnel going through their paces. It’s in 1080i and lasts 10 minutes.

10 deleted scenes may be viewed individually or in one 12 ½ minute chunk and may have audio commentary by director Roger Kumble turned on or off. The scenes are in 1080p and all deserved to be cut from the finished film.

The Blu-ray offers an alternate beginning and two alternate endings which run a total of 3 ½ minutes and are in 1080p. Wisely, all of them were abandoned for better ideas.

The gag reel isn’t particularly amusing, but it is presented in 1080p and runs 2 ¾ minutes.

“Double Dutch Bus” music video features Raven with a surprise cameo by Donny Osmond. It’s in 480i and runs 3 ¼ minutes.

“On the Set: ‘Double Dutch Bus’ ” is a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the music video which is in 1080p and runs 3 ½ minutes.

The disc presented 1080p previews of The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, and Tinker Bell. The trailer for College Road Trip is not present.

In Conclusion

2.5/5 (not an average)

College Road Trip is very predictable for those who have seen other Disney family comedies for the past few decades. It’s harmless enough, of course, and a time filler for fans of its young star Raven. Additionally, the video and audio presentation is really quite excellent, so it could certainly serve as a pleasant family rental diversion for an evening.

Matt Hough
Charlotte, NC

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