Mayhem ensues in the form of wedding crashes, a bus full of Japanese karaoke tourists, and skydiving into downtown Washington (although it looks from the air far more like rural Virginia). College Road Trip is like a really bad episode of I Love Lucy: empty antics strung together with unseemly gusto.
The little oinker Albert (played by a series of Vietnamese potbellies) is hardly a scene-stealer, but this film desperately calls upon him time and time again to save its comedic bacon.
It is rare for a movie to feature a pig and not have the creature be the hammiest thing on the screen. But Raven-Symoné and Lawrence are both outrageous overactors. They go together like Mentos and Pepsi.
But wait, College Road Trip has a bonus disaster: Donnie Osmond in a toxic recurring cameo as a fellow campus-visiting dad. He's an annoyingly perky, cliche-spewing ("Shiver me timbers"), show-tune-singing imbecile. In other words, you get Donnie's Branson stage act in a concentrated form.
The whole project is a cloying, artificial mess. The slapstick comedy doesn't bite, and the formulaic sentimentality doesn't grip. This is strictly phi beta crappa.
College Road Trip * (out of four stars)
Directed by Roger Kumble. With Raven-Symoné, Martin Lawrence, Donny Osmond and Eshaya Draper. Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures.
Running time: 1 hour, 26 mins.
Parent's guide: G.
Playing at: select area theaters.
Contact staff writer David Hiltbrand
at 215-854-4552 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read his recent work at http://go.philly.com/daveondemand.