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Cast doesn’t make good case

“College Road Trip”

Like Ice Cube before him, Martin Lawrence has let his career devolve into stupidly silly family fare. Not that there’s anything wrong with mainstream family films, unless the filmmakers – as director Roger Kumble does here – settle for the most obvious jokes at every turn. This witless farce stars Lawrence as a possessive father who tries to convince his Georgetown University-bound daughter (Raven-Symone) to stay home and attend college at Northwestern. Didn’t anyone think that it might have made more sense for baby girl to have to make a difficult choice – choose between Georgetown and, say, the City Colleges of Chicago? Now that would have been a sacrifice. DVD, which is available in Blu-ray, includes commentary by director Kumble, deleted scenes, alternate endings. (1:23; rated G)

– By Dan Webster


Crushingly winsome, “Penelope” aims to be a magical modern romance, but there’s no enchantment. It begins in glossy, bedtime-story form as Christina Ricci relates the curse of the wealthy Wilhern family. Every daughter would have a pig snout; only a blueblood’s true love would offer a cure. … “Penelope” sat unreleased for two years, and no wonder. It’s a shambles, so inexpertly timed and clumsily directed by newcomer Mark Palansky that it seems like a first-draft edit of some hopeless, abandoned project. DVD includes a making-of featurette. (1:30; rated PG for language, innuendo, thematic elements)

– By Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Step Up 2: The Streets”

“Step Up 2: The Streets” has a message that slips through, at odds with the movie’s blatant insincerity. It is this: Youthful physicality is pure and impervious, even when it’s framed, choreographed, directed and generally falsified by corporate grown-ups. As we groan at the two leading, squeaky-clean performers (Robert Hoffman and Briana Evigan) pretending to be oh so “street” in their designer togs and exchanging “attitude”-laced dialogue that induces unintentional laughter, we can still revel in the kinetic flow as they dance. DVD includes making-of featurettes, deleted scenes, music videos. (1:37; rated PG-13 for brief violence, language, suggestive material)

– By Desson Thomson, The Washington Post

“The Year My Parents Went on Vacation”

In 1970, Mauro (the post-cherubic Michel Joelsas) is dispatched to his grandfather’s home in the Sao Paolo Jewish quarter while his parents, Communists facing death under Brazil’s junta, go on “vacation.” That Grandpa drops dead in the few moments between the phone call made by Mauro’s father (Eduardo Moreira) and Mauro’s arrival at his tatty apartment is just one of the many contrivances plaguing this ostensibly heartwarming coming-of-age story. DVD includes commentary by director Cao Hamburger, making-of featurettes, outtakes. In Portuguese with English subtitles. (1:44; rated PG for thematic material, mild language, brief suggestive content, violence, smoking)

– By John Anderson, The Washington Post

Other releases: “Asylum,” “Final Approach,” “Insanitarium,” “Meet Bill,” “Shutter”


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