College Road Trip

  • Review Date: March 5, 2008
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 83 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Even young kids will like father-daughter comedy.
  • Review Date: March 5, 2008
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 83 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Melanie says she's going to spend the night at her best friend's house, but they're really going to a dance party. The chief has his deputies pose as college students during a tour of Northwestern. He also sneaks into a sorority house to check on Melanie. Asians on a tour bus are depicted stereotypically -- they're all karaoke obsessed.

Violence & scariness

Slapsticky scenes of the chief nearly falling from a second-story window and a pig going wild at a fancy wedding. Two people are buzzed with a taser.

Sexy stuff

Brief goodbye/hello kisses and hugs between parents, and mild flirting between Melanie and a couple of college guys.


Very mild: "stupid" and "dumb."


Northwestern University, University of Pittsburgh, and Georgetown University receive a lot of free publicity; products include a Dell laptop and a Mitsubishi flat-screen TV.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this comedy stars Raven-Symone and features Lucas Grabeel and Brenda Song, all of whom lots of kids know and love from their popular Disney Channel shows and movies. Given that immediate Disney tie-in, expect even young elementary schoolers to show an interest in the movie. The good news is that despite Martin Lawrence's history as a foulmouthed stand-up comic, this is one family-friendly flick. There are a couple of scenes of slapsticky mayhem (like when a pet pig runs amok at a wedding reception), and a few moments of teens badmouthing parents who just don't understand; otherwise, there's nothing here to worry about.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

James Porter (Martin Lawrence) is the chief of police for a Chicago suburb. Incredibly security obsessed, he wants his daughter Melanie (Raven-Symone) to attend nearby Northwestern University, where she's already been accepted. But Mel really wants to go to Georgetown in Washington, D.C., where she's been wait-listed. When she gets an unexpected interview, she decides to take a road trip with her best friends ... until James reconsiders and takes her himself -- so he can convince her to go to Northwestern. Along the way, they encounter several obstacles and near-disasters but also finally get the chance to really talk to each other.

Is it any good?


Lawrence seems to be following the well-worn path of other formerly risque; stand-up comics, making his living in watered-down, family-friendly comedies. This latest piece of Disney fluff is at least pleasant and better than expected. All parents (whether they have college students or not) can relate to the bittersweet realization that their kids are growing up. The discrepancy between how close James thinks he is to Melanie and how little he actually knows of her plans will probably strike close to home for many viewers, particularly teens and parents. For that reason, it's clear that director Roger Kumble wanted movie-going parents to relate to -- not just tolerate -- the plot.

In addition to Raven, who's so successful that she's one of the movie's executive producers, COLLEGE ROAD TRIP is filled with other recognizable stars from Disney franchises, like Lucas Grabeel from High School Musical and Brenda Song from The Suite Life of Zack and Cody (all of which just makes the movie feel even more like a Disney Channel special than a big-screen event). Younger fans will also get a kick out of Melanie's genius younger brother, Trey (Eshaya Draper), who stows away with his faithful pet pig, Albert. Between Lawrence's slapstick, the presence of Raven and her fellow Disney-anointed stars, and the funny kid and his pig, there are bound to be laughs (and perhaps a couple of tears) in store for everyone in the family.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the movie portrays parent-child relationships. Which father-daughter dynamic seems more realistic -- Melanie and the chief's or Wendy and Doug's? Why? Why do you think Disney cast so many familiar TV faces in this movie? Kids: Did you want to see the movie more because you know the actors from their shows? What else made you want to see it?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 6, 2008
DVD release date:July 14, 2008
Cast:Donny Osmond, Martin Lawrence, Raven Symone
Director:Roger Kumble
Studio:Walt Disney Pictures
Genre:Family and Kids
Run time:83 minutes
MPAA rating:G

This review of College Road Trip was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written by4Spice December 12, 2009

good for family

good for the family not a action killing movie 7 and over
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 10 years old November 21, 2009


this is a funny family movie for all ages
What other families should know
Educational value
Great role models
Parent of a 13 year old Written byTsion April 11, 2009

Okay, maybe not so good...

COLLEGE ROAD TRIP tries really hard to be the great family film of the year, but it doesn't quite suceed. Raven is great and there are some funny moments, but mostly it isn't that good. There's really nothing wrong with this movie, besides one scene where Melanie says she's going to the library but really goes to a party. Her actions have no consequences.


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