Wednesday, 17 April 2024

Arts & Life


Once the bad boy of comedy, Martin Lawrence has mellowed so much in recent years that it was inevitable he’d end up in G-rated Disney fare like “College Road Trip.” Even last year’s “Wild Hogs,” with its PG-13 rating, was racier. Unless he gets back to his nightclub standup routines with haste, Lawrence may be doomed to endless sequels of “Big Momma’s House,” and that’s no way to enhance a career. It’s bad enough that he’s upstaged by a scene-stealing pet pig.

Lawrence’s James Porter is a control freak, particularly when it comes to dealing with his precocious teenage daughter Melanie (Disney Channel’s singing sensation Raven-Symone). Police chief in a Chicago suburban town, James is anxious for Melanie to attend Northwestern, if only because it’s a short ride from home and he can keep an eye on his first-born child. Smart and ambitious, Melanie has other ideas about her college future, one that focuses singularly upon acceptance to Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

After making a good impression on judges at a mock trial, Melanie is invited for an interview at Georgetown, and for spring break she plans a road trip with school buddies Nancy (Brenda Song) and Katie (Margo Harshman).

But the girls-only trip to check out prospective colleges is disrupted by the insistence of James to escort his daughter. The meddlesome father is so neurotic, crazy and overprotective that it’s only a matter of time before things start to go horribly wrong.

Early on in the trip, James discovers that his young son Trey (Eshaya Draper) and the pet pig are stowaways in the back of his police SUV. Trey and the pig are the gifted members of the family. Often they play chess together while taking a bubble bath. The bright pig, who should be a candidate for a college interview, is a comic foil for James, usually because the lovable pet has an unnerving way of eyeballing the police chief.

The accident-prone father’s plans to protect and serve his daughter go awry at every turn. For one thing, an effort to bypass highway traffic turns into disaster when the SUV ends up at the bottom of a ravine.

Circumstances force the family into a carpool with an impossibly cheerful father-and-daughter team on their own road trip. Decades removed from his last film, Donny Osmond plays Doug Greenhut as so maniacally perky while singing show tunes with his daughter Wendy (Molly Ephraim) that he’s borderline psychotic. It won’t even take a second song to get the feeling the Greenhut family belongs in a padded cell.

“College Road Trip” goes the extra mile to put father and daughter in a constant state of bickering and bantering, with plenty of slapstick situations thrown in almost at random. James will do his manipulative best to undermine Melanie’s desire for independence, even staging phony encounters on the Northwestern campus.

Then there are the serious hijinks of the family pig causing complete mayhem at a hotel wedding, resulting in the party tent collapsing and the bride ending up with a face full of wedding cake.

Other mishaps include the family hitching a ride with a busload of Japanese tourists who love to sing karaoke, and this is an invitation for yet one more opportunity for Melanie to sing a rendition of “Double Dutch Bus.” At the last leg of the trip, James and Melanie hitch a plane ride with a USA diving team, not realizing that their sport had nothing to do with water.

Befitting the Disney tradition, “College Road Trip” is filled with sentimental family bonding and an abundance of life lessons. Given that the market for family films is so greatly underserved, this film has enough laughs for the younger audience it intends to attract. You can drop off your kids for “College Road Trip” and not worry about the consequences.


More than 20 years ago, Tom Hanks starred as the fun-loving guy who was going to marry the girl of his dreams in “Bachelor Party.” His wacky buddies decided to have a blowout party at a fashionable hotel. Comic mayhem ensued. Attempting to recapture the magic of that film is the direct-to-video release of “Bachelor Party 2: The Last Temptation.” Not for lack of effort, this indirect sequel doesn’t measure up to the inventiveness of the original.

“Bachelor Party 2” tries too hard by pushing the envelope of the “sex comedy” with an overabundance of booze-soaked debauchery. Harland Williams is the only recognizable person in this movie, though the publicity advertising touts ultra-sexy Emmanuelle Vagier for being named one of Maxim’s Hot 100 Girls.

One of the bachelor’s buddies gets the wrong idea about the pretty girls at the sex addicts’ convention. As the blowout weekend takes place in Miami, it’s not surprising that the hotel is full of bikini-clad hotties and strippers bent on seduction.

“Bachelor Party 2” is probably the adolescent male’s idea of a sendoff for a buddy headed to matrimony.

Tim Riley writes film and television reviews for Lake County News.


CLEARLAKE – Wild About Books welcomes mystery author Sue Lehman to talk about her new book “The Rat” on Saturday, March 22, 2 p.m.

Sue Lehman does it again! “The Rat” is a fun mystery even the likes of Agatha Christie would love to chase.

Ruth was sick and frail, so it was really no surprise when they found her dead one morning. But when that nice young man died, and that little girl, and that nosy Detective Thomlinson started snooping around, it started to look like there might be a problem. In fact, it started to look a lot like murder.

You'd better keep your eyes peeled for mischief, just in case, because when there's a rat in the house, it'll keep making a mess until you catch it. The weapon? Rat poison. The murderer? It's anybody's guess.

A book signing will follow the reading.

Red Hat attendees will receive a FREE Gift from Wild About Books.

“Blindsided,” released January 2007, was Sue Lehman’s first book published. She now resides in Northern California. Lehman is the owner of Allegro Piano Service; she tunes and repairs pianos. She is currently working on her next book.

Wild About Books is located at 14290 Olympic Drive, Clearlake, next door to Lisa's clothing store.

For an updated list of times and dates for upcoming events, stop by and see visit or call the store today at 994-WILD (9453).


LAKE COUNTY – During April, “Youth Writes” will offer Lake County students, ages 8-18, a cluster of public events at which to perform the best of their poetry.


“Youth Writes” has partnered with local businesses to provide six performance sites throughout the county.

These sites are: Holy Joe’s Coffee Shop in Upper Lake (Friday, April 4 at 4 p.m.), Café Victoria in Lakeport (Saturday, April 5 at 1 p.m.), Giovanni’s Coffee and Tea in Loch Lomand (Saturday, April 12 at 1 p.m.), Tuscan Village in Lower Lake (Saturday, April 19 at noon), Wild About Books in Clearlake (Friday, April 25 at 3 p.m.), Calpine Geothermal Visitor Center in Middletown (Saturday, April 26 at 1 p.m.).


Poets should sign in 10 to 30 minutes prior to events. They need to be accompanied by a parent/guardian or bring a signed permission slip. Permission slips are available on-line at

PERFORMANCE TIPS: Choose your strongest pieces to perform in public. Always speak slowly and don’t be afraid to pause. Practice out loud and for friends and family. Memorize your poems to maximize your impact.

Selected poets will be invited to read at the Art and Nature Show at Rodman Slough Preserve, Nice-Lucerne Cutoff at 11 a.m. on May 3.

For questions about “Youth Writes” contact Lorna Sue at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



LAKEPORT – This Friday, Bert Atwood will share stories from his new beautiful "coffee table" book, “My Father Was a Crop Duster,” at Watershed Books in Lakeport.

Meet Bert and hear the stories beginning at 3:30 p.m.

This informative book provides a glimpse into the founding and success of California's premiere 20th century crop dusting company, begun by Bert's parents.

Atwood's book contains vast personal insights, many interviews and several hundred photos.

Watershed Books is located at 305 N. Main St., Lakeport, telephone 263-5787.


LAKE COUNTY – Lake County's favorite piano man, David Neft, will be performing around Lake County in March and April.

The following gigs are among his planned appearances.

  • March 27: The 2008 return of Neft to Saw Shop Bistro, Main Street, Kelseyville, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. For reservations call 278-0129.

  • March 30: David performs as attendees arrive at the “Stars of Lake County” event, Konocti Harbor Resort & Spa, Kelseyville.

  • March 31: David appears with drummer Steve DuBois at the Blue Wing Saloon & Cafe, Main St., Upper Lake, 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. For reservations call 275-2233.

  • April 2: Hidden Valley Lake Ladies Luncheon Club Annual Fashion Show, noon.

  • April 11: The New Riviera Hills Restaurant and Lounge, Fairway Drive off Soda Bay Road, Kelseyville. Call 277-7575 for reservations.

  • April 13: The New Riviera Hills Restaurant and Lounge.

  • April 24: Saw Shop Bistro, Main Street, Kelseyville. For reservations call 278-0129.

  • April 27 – Hidden Valley Lake Association Annual Concert, noon to 3 p.m. at the “quad,” Blues band Bill Noteman and the Rockets. This will mark the return of Neft playing with the Rockets since Bill Noteman’s major surgery in early January.

For more information call Neft at 987-3630 for information and late additions to his busy gig schedule.


Upcoming Calendar

04.18.2024 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
Earth Day celebration
04.20.2024 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Earth Day Celebration
Calpine Geothermal Visitor Center
04.20.2024 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Boatique Wines Stand-up Comedy Night
04.25.2024 1:30 pm - 7:30 pm
FireScape Mendocino workshop
04.27.2024 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Northshore Ready Fest
04.27.2024 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Prescription Drug Take Back Day
04.27.2024 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Inaugural Team Trivia Challenge
Cinco de Mayo
05.06.2024 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
Senior Summit

Mini Calendar



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