Movie: 'The Guilt Trip': Pleasant, but Forgettable
December 23, 2012
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
After inventing a completely natural and safe household cleaning product, Andy Brewster (Seth Rogen, “Knocked Up” and “Superbad”) must travel cross country to meetings with major retailers in order to pitch them his new product in the hopes that they will pick it up and carry it in their stores. Before embarking on his trip he decides to stop off at his mother Joyce’s (Barbra Streisand, “The Way We Were”) house for a quick visit. While there Andy learns of a long lost love of Joyce’s, whom he was named after, and decides to invite his overbearing mother on his trip, where the last stop will be the former flames house, unbeknownst to Joyce.
As the pair travels from stop to stop they encounter old significant others, an intriguing book on tape, treacherous weather conditions and take part in a restaurant “Man vs. Food” kind of contest. The fun times do not last long though as the mother and son cannot quite handle all of their forced bonding time; long seated aggravations and emotions come to a head and the fallout is far from pleasant. With Andy failing miserably at gaining sponsors for his invention and Joyce’s anger at being lied to and feeling unappreciated, will the two even be able to make it to their final destination or will they call it quits and return home?
“The Guilt Trip” is actually based on writer Dan Fogelman’s real life road trip that he took with his mother during which he sent emails to a friend chronicling the journey; the friend saved the emails and they became the basis for the script. Although it has its funny and lighthearted moments, the film is far more serious than the trailer lets on focusing on the strained relationship between an overbearing, if well meaning, mother and her adult son who has grown to resent his mother’s protectiveness. The script gives the audience many moments where viewers will be able to relate them to real life instances either from family vacations or conversations one has with a parent while growing up.
Seth Rogen remains very Seth Rogen-ish, meaning he is essentially playing the same kind of character one would see in any of his other movies, but perhaps acts a bit more mature in this film; he performs the role fine. The film is clearly proud of the fact that they were able to get Barbra Streisand to be involved in the project and it appears that a lot of the scenes, and even the film, are a vehicle for her. Streisand plays to the stereotype of “Jewish mother,” but it works; fans of Streisand’s will not be disappointed. Overall the film is short and is an easy viewing experience.
“The Guilt Trip” is rated PG-13 for language and some risqué material and runs 95 minutes. It is in theaters now.