I'm Speed on the Beat and welcome to another installment of WIRTB Review, where I look at crappy movies and review the crap so you don't have to. Now, today, we're looking at a weird film. Over eight years ago, Disney thought it'd be cool to have Martin Lawrence and Raven-Symone, fresh off the "successes" of Wild Hogs and That's So Raven, respectively, do a college road trip movie called College Road Trip.
...and sometimes, these things make me wish I still drank.
While I've got to applaud Disney for going with a Black-led movie (yay inclusion and whatnot), I've got to chastise them for having it be this particular Black-led movie. For starters, it kind of feels that it was Black-led mainly because Raven still had some star juice left from TSR and Martin Lawrence had some star juice in the stash from Wild Hogs. I know, I mentioned that before. But, it's got to be said again. Had either of those things not happened, it's not hard to make this movie with Ashley Tisdale and Ty Burrell. In fact, I probably would've preferred to see Sharpay and Phil Dunphy play these roles.
And, yes. I did make reference to HSM. Why? Because fuck you, that's why.
But, the movie tries so hard to not be "just another Black-led family comedy," that it becomes just like many Black-led comedies. It tries to be all-encompassing by relying on trite characters and even more trite writing. CRT was written, in some way, shape, or form, by four writers--including the duo behind the main Despicable Me films. And we still got this? Let me get this straight: the duo that created one of the best series of modern family films made this crap?
I get it now. This was one of the things they needed out their systems before giving us Gru. Consider it a cleanse if you're a huge Despicable Me fan.
Raven-Symone went so hard for this movie, she ended up appearing at WrestleMania XXIV to promote it. Oh, and there was something about the Make-A-Wish Foundation, so I can't hate on her appearance at WM. But, the point remains as such: this movie's ad budgets pulled out a lot of stops to promote the beehayzeus out of it. And somehow, gasp, it still managed to flop. But, was it really that bad?
|One of these days, I'll probably get sued by Raven-Symone for slander. Today ain't that day.|
The movie features a pig. And no, that's not a sexist comment. There's actually a pig. Look back up at the friggin' movie poster. If I wanted pigs in my Disney, I'd just watch Gordy and call it a friggin' day. Raven plays
Girl Melanie, a senior who wants to go to Georgetown because HOYA SAXA and her dad, played by Martin Lawrence, wants her to go to the much-closer Northwestern University. Daddy Lawrence is a police chief in a Chicago suburb (see what I mean about it being a Black-led movie in name only) and his wife is a real estate agent played by the underrated-in-everything-except-this Kym Whitley. Daddy Lawrence is annoyed with everything and just wants his baby girl to be close to him, because FILM STEREOTYPES!!! No one gels well together and I'm already questioning my sanity.
OK...I may get called racially close-minded for this. But, why doesn't Melanie have any Black friends? Her besties are played by Brenda Song and Margo Harshman. So, we've got Raven Baxter, London Tipton, and Tawny from Even Stevens all in one movie? About prepping for college? When they're all in their early 20s in real life when this movie was released? Fuck me sideways. It's like the early 2000s decided to roar back with a vengeance just to piss me off.
|Indeed, Raven. Indeed. Considering I know who Brenda Song played on The Suite Life, it is indeed my fault.|
Anyway, they're riding along and visiting colleges (or something) and we meet our comedic foils, father-and-daughter duo Doug and Wendy, played by Donny Osmond and Molly Ephraim. You may remember Ephraim from...Last Man Standing? Seriously, that's all she's been in of note. Oh, and she was Ali in Paranormal Activity 2 (thank you, Wikipedia). They're wacky as Raven believing racial tension doesn't exist and just as real-life implausible. There's something about the family pig eating coffee, Martin Lawrence being tazered because "Don't Taze Me, Bro," and cheesy Disney lessons learned for all. Oh, and Raven sang "Double Dutch Bus" with stereotypically "Asian" tourists.
SOTB.com family, I have failed you...
I can't with this movie. It fails on every level. It's not funny, it's not "so bad, it's good," it's not even "boring to the point I can entertain myself for another 60 minutes." I hate this movie to the point of I would love to find every copy ever made, make an effigy of the movie poster with them, and burn it on Raven-Symone's front yard in an effort to do better with her movie and show choices. While that's specific and possibly self-hating (because of the Klan imagery it'd, no doubt, invoke), that's how much vitriol I have towards this movie. I can't even riff on it the way I would, say, a Scary Movie 5 or some clusterfuck like that. Because that's fun to do. This shit? I feel bad for subjecting my subconscious to this shit. I feel bad for everyone who made this shit. I feel like I watched Raven-Symone's movie career die a quick and painful death after this shit. I watched as every boner I'd ever amassed over Raven-Symone as a teenager shrivel up and died because of this shit. After this shit, I almost didn't even want to see a Martin reunion. It ruined everything I loved.
When College Road Trip came out, my mom thought it'd be funny to invite me to see this, since she knew I had a crush on Raven back in the day. She also knew that I loved watching Martin Lawrence interact with folks. And since it was Mama Young, I said "sure, why not?" Lady Speed was chilling with her folks, Drizzle was being Drizzle, and I hadn't seen my mom in a minute. So, I didn't really have any other plans. Plus, it'd give me a chance to riff on the movie with her.
When I finished watching the movie, I wanted to begin riffing on it with Mama Young. But, she just stopped me, in her Bawlmer drawl, and said this.
"Johnthan, that movie sucked. I'm sorry you had to see this."
My mom was usually a more forgiving pseudo-critic than I. I mean, she loved Tyler Perry films because they were stupid and over-the-top whereas I usually thought Madea was something that God created to make us atone for our sins. But, to hear her straight up, without any remorse, rip the film and its purpose to shreds so coldly, I knew that it was bad. There wasn't any joy in her voice. There was not even an ironic sort of LULZ had from Mama Young. There was just...disgust that we'd paid money to see this fuckshow of suck.
Every joke fell flat. The lessons were tacked on. There was nothing to separate it from any of the other Disney family flicks out over the years except "hey, there's Raven-Symone singing 'Double Dutch Bus.'" Hell, I'll go on record and say Home on the Range was a better film than this. I'll go on record and say I'd rather see new Madea films from now through 2025 than watch College Road Trip again. If you want to bore yourself into a stupor to the point you're wondering if you're still alive, check it out. The Armed Forces should've tried playing this versus waterboarding. Fuck this movie.
Fuck it. I can't find one redeeming quality about it. Like, at all.