Story

James Porter (Martin Lawrence) is Chief of Police in Chicago and is used to protecting his community and family. However, James’s world is shaken when his precious daughter Melanie (Raven-Symoné) informs him that she has been successful in gaining an interview to attend her dream college in another state. Melanie plans a girls only college road trip to check out her college options but her overprotective father intervenes and insists on taking her himself in the hope of convincing her to attend a college closer to home. What follows is a road trip adventure filled with mishaps and comedic misfortune as Melanie and James learn about the importance of trusting, and being honest with, those that you love most and of learning how to let go.

Themes

Family relationships

Violence

There is some comedic violence and accidental harm in this movie including:

  • Two scenes where people are shot with a taser gun; one man is shot because the chief is unhappy with him, and the chief himself is shot after he is found trespassing on the college campus.
  • After the family’s pet pig ingests a large amount of coffee beans he goes wild, jumps from buildings and destroys a wedding reception.
  • The family’s car rolls down a steep hill and is smashed.  None of the family are in the crash and no one is hurt.
  • The chief attempts to enter a sorority house by climbing up the outside of a two story building and almost falls.
  • A television show makes reference to a gazelle having its ‘head ripped off’.

Content that may disturb children

Under 8

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of eight, including when Melanie and her father parachute from an aeroplane for the first time. There is a lot of screaming throughout this scene but no one is hurt.

From 8-13

Apart from the above mentioned violent scenes, there are no scenes in this movie that are likely to scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen. 

Over 13

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film.

Sexual references

None of concern 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

There is no use of substances in this movie aside from the pet pig ingesting coffee beans out of the rubbish bin and his consequent behaviour.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including a few scenes of teenagers dancing in a mildly provocative manner but without any real sexual intent.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie: Mitsubishi television, Dell computers, Nike, Hello Kitty, Heinz, Volvo and Ikea. Several American universities are aso referred to – Georgetown, Northwestern, Yale, Stanford.

Coarse language 

This movie contains some mild coarse language and put-downs.

Ideas to discuss with your children

College Road Trip is a lighthearted family comedy that looks at a father’s struggles to let go of his daughter who is on the cusp of independence. The main messages from this movie are about growing up and trusting those that you love to become their own person.

Values in this movie that you might wish to reinforce with your children include honesty, independence and believing in yourself.

This movie could also give you the opportunity to discuss with your children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • The consequences of deception. Melanie lies to her father about going to a party and her father tries to trick Melanie into going to the university of his choice.
  • Exploring what might have happened if Melanie had not told her father what she really wanted.  Would she have been happy if she had gone to the college that her father wanted?  How would her relationship with her father have changed?
  • The relationships portrayed in this movie. Does James overprotective manner guarantee that he is close to his daughter? How else could have he showed her how much he cared about her? How are other relationships portrayed throughout the movie?
  • The stereotyped picture of karaoke-loving Japanese tourists in one scene.