An overprotective father takes his daughter on a road trip, in hopes of discouraging her from wanting to go to school far from home. James Porter is, like many fathers, overprotective and scared of the prospect of not being able to look out for his child. He wants his daughter, Melanie, to go to Northwestern, a terrific college close to their home in Chicago; however, Melanie is bent on going to Georgetown in Washington DC, far from James' reach. Melanie is the best thing in James' life-- he fights with his wife, and his son Trey is a weirdo, spending nearly all of his time with his pet pig, Albert. Melanie gets invited by two of her friends to go on their college road trip, that they can swing by Georgetown on their drive, which excites Melanie... until she discovers her father has seemingly had a change of heart, and he would like to take her on a college road trip himself. Before they go, one of the conditions is that Melanie actually give Northwestern a chance. When they tour, they meet another father-daughter combination, the dorky Doug and his daughter Wendy. Melanie begins doubting her desire to go to Georgetown... until she realizes her dad planted people on their Northwestern tour to badmouth Georgetown in hopes of discouraging her. They start their drive to DC, but things go wrong the entire way-- their car breaks down, they discover Trey and Albert have stowed away in the trunk, they are forced to take a bus full of Japanese tourists, and when James spies on Melanie after she sneaks to a college party, he gets tazed. Eventually, James must decide whether he can get what he wants or he can keep his daughter happy-- he can't do both.
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Best part of story, including ending:
It's innocent enough, but most of the jokes are old, pulled from better films, and Lawrence seems to be phoning in his performance.
Best scene in story:
In one scene, James is surveying all of the security cameras around his house, and suddenly he sees Albert the pig staring into a camera. It startles him, and it's a cute, good gag.
Opinion about the main character:
James is too protective, but we understand why he wants to protect her. Fears about children are inherently sympathetic. The problem is the character is too simplistic, too under-written.