Building Entertainment: The films of the Walt Disney Studio. College Road Trip

Welcome to my weekly discussion of the films of the Walt Disney Studio. I’m proceeding mostly chronologically. The title comes from a quote from Walt, “I never called my work an ‘art’ It’s part of show business, the business of building entertainment.”

Title: College Road Trip

Year: 2008

Budget:  $25 million

Box office: $51.5 million

Plot: Police chief and hyper-protective father James drives his teenage daughter, Melanie, from their home in Chicago to a college interview in Washington, D.C.

En route, they meet disturbingly cheerful parent Doug, their car breaks down and he finds his son and pet pig stowed away in the trunk.

What’s worse, James gets caught spying on his daughter at a sorority house. Despite the chaos, James begins to realize that his baby girl has grown up .


Martin Lawrence as Chief James Porter. He got his start playing Maurice Warfield in What’s Happening Now!!. His breakthrough role was as Cee in Do the Right Thing. He is known for the sitcom Martin, the Bad Boys franchise,  House Party, Boomerang, Wild Hogs, Nothing to Lose, Blue Streak, Life, Big Momma’s House, and A Thin Line Between Love and Hate. Raven Symoné as Melanie Porter. She began her career appearing on The Cosby Show and Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper. As a teenager, she starred on the series That’s So Raven. Her film credits include Dr. Dolittle, Dr. Dolittle 2, Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century, The Cheetah Girls, The Cheetah Girls 2, For One Night, and Revenge of the Bridesmaids. Raven-Symoné has also lent her voice to Kim Possible and Tinker Bell.

Donny Osmond as Doug Greenhut. He came to fame performing with his family in the Osmonds and with his sister Marie in their talk show. On Broadway, he appeared in Little Johnny Jones, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Beauty and the Beast. He sang the voice of Shang in Mulan Molly Ephraim as Wendy Greenhut. She is known for her role as Mandy Baxter on Last Man Standing during its original run. Ephraim has also appeared in a number of other TV series including Brockmire, Halt and Catch Fire, and Casual. She is currently appearing in  Perry Mason as Della Street’s lover Hazel Prystock. Ephraim made her Broadway debut as Little Red Riding Hood in the Broadway revival of Into the Woods in 2002, receiving a Drama League Award nomination. She later played Bielke in a Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof.

Kym Whitley as Michelle Porter. She is best known for her roles on television sitcoms, such as Animal Practice, The Boondocks, Young & Hungry and The Parkers. Whitley was nominated for a 2004 BET Comedy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Box Office Movie for her role as Ormandy in Deliver Us From Eva. Brenda Song as Nancy Carter. She appeared in many projects for the Disney Channel including Get a Clue, Stuck in the Suburbs, Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior, Suite Life of Zack & Cody and The Suite Life on Deck. Other television roles include  Scandal, New Girl, and Dads. Films include The Social Network, First Kiss, Angry Angel, Secret Obsession, and  Changeland.

Margo Harshman as Katie.known for her role as Tawny Dean on Even Stevens, her role as Alex Jensen on The Big Bang Theory, and her role as Delilah McGee on NCIS. Arnetia Walker as Grandma Porter. She played the leading role as Nurse Annie Roland in the NBC sitcom Nurses from 1991 to 1994.Walker made her big screen debut appearing in  The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. She later appeared in films The Wizard of Speed and Time, Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills, and Love Crimes. Her television films credits include Cast a Deadly Spell, The Cherokee Kid, and Geppetto. She guest starred in a number of shows, including Quantum Leap, Living Single, Midnight Caller, Everybody Loves Raymond, City of Angels, Touched by an Angel, The Steve Harvey Show, Just Shoot Me, Renegade, and NYPD Blue.

Vincent Pastore as Freddy. He is best known for his portrayal of Salvatore “Big Pu$$y” Bonpensiero on The Sopranos. He also appeared in Goodfellas, Carlito’s Way,  Mickey Blue Eyes, Flodders in America, Two Family House, Under Hellgate Bridge, Riding in Cars with Boys, Witness to the Mob, Deuces Wild, Made, Mafia!, The Hurricane, Serving Sara, American Cousins, A Tale of Two Pizzas, This Thing of Ours, Remedy, Shark Tale, Bachelor Party Vegas, The Family, Once Upon a Time in Brooklyn, Money Train, A Brooklyn State of Mind, The Deli, The Last Don II, Johnny Slade’s Greatest Hits, and Revolver.Lucas Grabeel as Scooter. He is best known for his role as Ryan Evans in the High School Musical film series. Grabeel has also appeared in the films Halloweentown High, Return to Halloweentown, Alice Upside Down, and The Adventures of Food Boy. He appeared as a young Lex Luthor and Conner Kent in the television series Smallville.

Will Sasso as Deputy O’Mally. He is notable for his five seasons as a cast member on Mad TV, for starring as Curly in The Three Stooges, and Happy Gilmore, as well as for his television roles as Carl Monari in Less than Perfect, Doug Martin in How I Met Your Mother, and as Bill Ryan in United We Fall. Joseph R. Gannascoli as Mr. Arcarra. He is best known for his portrayal of Vito Spatafore on The Sopranos. Prior to acting, Gannascoli was a professional chef. He appeared Money for Nothing, Ed Wood,  Submission, and  Mickey Blue Eyes.

My take: It’s a cute film. Osmond is particularly funny. There’s a cute pig too

Available on Disney +?: Yes

Next Week: Soul