Australian Council on Children and the Media

College Road Trip

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Short takes

Parental guidance under 8 due to violence and accidental harm.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for College Road Trip
  • a review of College Road Trip completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 19 August 2008.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and accidental harm
Children aged 8-13 OK for this age group
Children over the age of 13 OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: College Road Trip
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: Some comedic violence
Length 83 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the 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.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Family relationships

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

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’.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

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 five, including the following:

  •  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.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

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 thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

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

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Mitsubishi television
  • Dell computers
  • Nike
  • Hello Kitty
  • Heinz
  • Volvo
  • Ikea
  • A number of American universities- Georgetown, Northwestern, Yale, Stanford

Sexual references

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • There are a few scenes of teenagers dancing in a mildly provocative manner however without any real sexual intent

Use of 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

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Mild putdowns, including “stupid” and “dumb”.

In a nutshell

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 parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • honesty
  • independence
  • believing in yourself

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their 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.

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