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A view from the Blu (-ray) on DVDBeaver by Leonard Norwitz


A Little Background     Openers     


    Modus Operandi     The Scorecard:     

Emotive Connection      Audio     Operations    Extras     The Movie     Equipment





College Road Trip [Blu-ray]


(Roger Kumble, 2008)







Review by Leonard Norwitz



Theatrical: Walt Disney Studios

Blu-ray: Walt Disney Home Entertainment



Region: A

Runtime: 83 min.

Chapters: 14

Size: 50 GB

Case: Locking Blu-ray case

Release date: July 15, 2008



Aspect ratio: 2.40:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: VC-1 MPEG4



English 5.1 Uncompressed (48 kHz/24-bit); English & French DD 5.1 Surround



English SDH, French, Spanish, none



• Audio Commentary with Director Kumble & Raven-Symoné

• Audio Commentary with Screenwriters Emi Mochizuki & Carrie Evans

• Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by Director Roger Kumble (12:32)

• Featurette: Raven's Video Diary (09:56)

• Featurette: One the Set: Double Dutch Bus (03:27)

• Alternate Openings & Endings (03:35)

• Gag Reel (02:47)



The Film: 5
Disney proves once again that it can get behind a G-rated movie that is also well-acted, funny and intelligent, that doesn't preach its moral position at every possible turn, a movie that the entire family could safely enjoy – and, dare I say it: magical. Of course, I'm speaking of WALL-E, not College Road Trip.


There's nothing actually offensive about Martin Lawrence's latest comedy, it simply lacks imagination. I blush when I write this, but the funniest thing in CRT is a pair of white folks - a father and daughter act (played by Donnie Osmond – God bless 'im and Molly Ephraim) that reminded me of – this is going to sound strange! - Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd as exchange students meeting on the train in Trading Places.

Lawrence is Police Chief James Porter. We don't ever get to know what sort of cop he is, but as an overprotective parent, he would make Nemo's dad blush. He and his considerably more mature wife (Kym Whitley) have two children: their very teenage daughter Melanie (an altogether too old looking, but properly adolescent-behaving Raven-Symoné, in one of her less compelling screen performances) and young brother Trey, (Eshaya Draper, along with his winning smile, - no doubt practicing to take up Denzel's mantle when the time comes). And leave us not forget Trey's very smart pet pig, who has a habit of eyeballing the chief to the point of insomnia.

The chief has worked things out for Melanie to attend Northwestern upon graduating high school so as to be as close to home as possible yet still offer the illusion that she is "away" at school. When Melanie gets a last-moment offer to apply to Georgetown in faraway Washington, the chief offers to drive her there, but has secretly put up various roadblocks designed to head her back to Northwestern and away from Georgetown. Melanie, no dummy, sees right through his strategy. But the chief is relentless in his pursuit of control, with the expected result, and the occasional smile from yours truly.

Image: 7/8.5
While nothing to write home about, the image here is trustworthy, just as it is uninteresting – but, then, it's very G-rated, as its look. It's not the sort of image that particularly benefits from HD, if for no other reason than so much of it is not especially cinematic – among other things, most of the movie is framed with unnecessary space at the left and right for easy 4:3 cropping, the sort of movie we used to call, disparagingly, made-for TV. All the same, it is fairly sharp, fairly coherent, and fairly good color – if not always honest. And having been made only yesterday, it's as clean as a pig's . . . whatever.














Audio & Music: 6/5
The uncompressed audio track is certainly clearer, more dynamic than the basic 5.1 DD, however a strange thing happens when "Double Dutch Bus," the one musical set piece (mercifully brief, I might add) comes into play: The entire sound stage is disembodied from the performance on screen; no one actually looks like they're singing. Yes, the audio mix certainly pumps up the bass and increases the layering effect, but once again it also let's us know, as musicals have often done for decades, that we have just moved into the studio for this segment of the program – only in staggeringly dynamic 5.1 Uncompressed Audio, the effect is not a happy one. I only hope that this level of disconnect doesn't become a trend with high-def audio.



Operations: 7
I couldn't help notice here and for Step Up 2 The Streets (released at the same time) that Buena Vista has reduced the number of compulsory previews and adverts by more than half. So don't go out for a burger and fries while things are loading this time. Except for it being a bit sluggish, as many Blu-rays are, in permitting return to the menu from any bonus feature, things are clearly laid out with directions for how to navigate so simple an adult can manage them.


Extras: 4
This little movie offers not one, but two audio commentaries, which is at least one more than it deserves – or so I thought at first until I considered its target audience whom I suspect will get a kick out of Roger and Raven's commentary. The menu description of "On the Set" – "Catch a glimpse of Raven-Symoné and Donny Osmond during the shoot of "Double Dutch Bus" music video – is remarkable for its accuracy: a "glimpse" is just about it. In the "Double Dutch Bus" Music Video Raven-Symoné turns up the heat a little. . . which reminds me: Why have a name with an "é" if you don't pronounce it? She doesn't. It's just "RavinSmoan," thank you very much.



Bottom line: 5
College Road Trip has nothing to offend anyone, except its relative lack of originality - not even so much as a raised eyebrow could be worked up on behalf of its smutless situations. Indeed, there is no sex, nor a hint of it (though it seems to be one of two things
that worry poor Chief Porter. There is no violence and no bad language. This is movie that's as homogenious as white bread – and just as unchallenging. Porter talks about "trust" but, except for what he has dancing around in his head and what we, the audience, bring to the movie, Melanie never offers so much as a hint of anything to be concerned about. And while this has the makings of a comedy of errors, it also makes its moral as empty as a Rubik's cube. That said, for its intended audience, College Road Trip is harmless family entertainment – the stuff that should make Wall-Mart a few extra bucks. For movie officiandos or those wanting to enlarge their high definition video library for just about any reason, I'd urge renting first. But don't get your hopes up.

Leonard Norwitz
July 5, 2008








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