The Disney Raven-SymonÃ©/Martin Lawrence comedy College Road Trip made almost $45-million dollars at the box office during its release. While I know that this number shouldn’t sicken me (the film stars a Disney Channel Favorite and was marketed directly to the pint-sized viewers who watch the Cable network religiously) for some reason it does all the same, the fact the Mouse House was able to bamboozle so many into believing this could be even remotely decent is depressingly incomprehensible.
The simple fact is that I am not this picture’s audience. Neither are parents. Nor are older siblings or pre-teen brothers and sisters. We will sit watching it as if stuck in purgatory, damned to 80-plus minutes of tired comedic shenanigans and decibel-screeching tomfoolery the likes of which are almost too horrific to even imagine.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a total idiot. The target audience of pre-teens and tweens is going to eat this up. They will laugh when the chess-playing pig destroys some random woman’s lavish wedding, they will giggle when a giant police SUV goes crashing down a country hillside, they will shriek in hysterics when their girl Raven and her equally cartoon-faced costar Lawrence catapult themselves out the back of an airplane. They will love just about every godforsaken minute, my unending pain at having to endure it with them completely invisible to their own giddily clueless euphoria.
Considering my disdain, Disney’s Blu-ray release of the film skews shockingly more towards teens and adults than it does towards the target audience. Not that I took the time to go that deeply into them. I barely was able to watch the picture for a second time, so the thought of having to endure an audio commentary with director Roger Kumble (who, once upon a time, made a very good movie called Cruel Intentions before crafting dreck like this) and star SymonÃ© wasn’t exactly high on my list of priorities. (There is also a second commentary with writers Emi Mochizuki and Carrie Evans, and I admit I wasn’t about to go there, either.)
I did watch Raven’s Video Diary featurette (not impressed), the Alternate Opening (indifferent), Alternate Endings (one of them is not half-bad), the Gag Reel (funnier than the movie, not that this is saying much), the “Double Dutch Bus” music video (excruciating) and the featurette behind the video’s creation (nearly as bad). None of these are exactly kid-friendly (save the music video), and the chances of anyone being remotely interested in any of them rest somewhere between the proverbial slim and none.
Look, I realize a movie like College Road Trip isn’t rocket science, but does it really have to play to such a dimwittedly low level that non-kid audiences are going to be in pain watching it? Other recent DVD releases like The Spiderwick Chronicles and Penelope certainly prove otherwise and yet Disney, the supposed purveyor of all that is supposedly good and wholesome in the world of family viewing, can’t seem to do the same. Consider yourself warned.