The Guilt Trip Reviews
My first thought was...my God! has someone actually seen me and my own mother out together one day and thought the embarrassing scenario would make a good comedy?. But in all honesty I'm sure there are many many people who could say the exact same thing.
The plot is simple, in fact its 'Planes Trains and Automobiles' just slightly altered, there's even a steak eating contest sequence. 'Brewster' and his very overbearing mother love each other but like all young adults and their parents there is friction. In this very sappy yet heart warming tale Seth Rogen's character takes his mother on a long road trip across the US from the East coast to Vegas and finally San Francisco for another small separate sub plot. Why? because he's trying to sell his new environmentally friendly cleaning product...annnd that's it in a nutshell.
In all honesty this film is very sweet and very weepy but ultimately its also very cliched and unoriginal. Streisand is clearly the best thing about the film with her typical Jewish mother routine. Always trying to feed Rogen's character, always asking if he's warm enough, always telling him to be careful and generally being nosy, awkwardly embarrassing and annoying at just the wrong times just like all mothers can be.
The plot is really really thin and offers little chances for fun apart from the obvious odd moment before a sales pitch. In general the start of the film is probably the best, as Rogen gets off his flight and meets Streisand at the airport, that sequence made me laugh, at that point I'm thinking this could be a winner. But the whole thing is pretty daft, would you really drive across the US to make sales? surely the gas would cost a fortune? maybe not I dunno.
Also the whole sub plot bit about Streisand's character trying to meet up with this guy she dated waaaay back before she had her child (Rogen's character), is ridiculous. She is hinging on the fact this guy would remember her and somehow want to get back together! after about...I dunno, 30-40 years or so! as if!. They only had a fling, if that, this idea felt really stretched.
The film wants to be funny, its so clearly wants to be the next big hilarious comedy, but it falls well well short. There are some easy opportunities for great comedy, both Rogen and Streisand being cooped up together for the whole trip in this tiny compact city car. Its yearning for some brilliant visual moments but they just don't come, even when they both go into a strip club, you're watching and waiting for the obvious embarrassing belly laughs...but no, still nothing.
Its a shame because its heart is in the right place and the premise is a good one (if completely over used), there's just very little to laugh at here. The film runs out of comedy fuel well before the end credits I'm afraid, but the chances were there.
"Get Ready For One Mother Of A Road Trip"
I didn't expect anything much from The Guilt Trip, but I never expected as lousy a movie as I got. You'd think Streisand and Rogen as a mother and son combo would make the movie go down easier, but the awful and extremely cliche writing makes that impossible. In the end, this is one of the worst comedies I've seen in awhile. The jokes don't really ever work, and the two or three times they actually do, the payoff results in just a little chuckle.
Andy is a scientist who has a new invention he is attempting to sell to major corporate retail chains. When he goes and visits his mother for a weekend before he goes on a week long, cross country road trip for several meetings; things change when he asks his mother to come along. From there, there's the usual road trip problems and mother, son quarrels. It's all quite bland and lifeless.
The Guilt Trip is definitely one to pass on and that's coming from someone who is a big fan of Seth Rogen. This comedy is weak from start to finish however, and about twenty minutes in, I realized, I already didn't care about any of the characters or what was to happen later in the movie. It ended up just being a big waste of time.
Boring so so movie! Unfortunately, the makers of Guilt Trip appear to believe that a movie requires a plot, and sadly, this one was clunky. For a comedy film to work, you either have to completely put reality aside, or somehow believe an unbelievable story. This film didn't fall into either category. The plot just wasn't strong enough to support the premise that any son would be crazy enough to take his mother on a long business trip with him, and there was no reason why he kept bringing her to all his business appointments. This could have been a much better film if the script was better, but I was disappointed. Don't go see this film unless you are a Barbra Streisand fan.
As inventor Andy Brewster is about to embark on the road trip of a lifetime, a quick stop at his mom's house turns into an unexpected cross-country voyage with her along for the ride.
Nate's Grade: B-
You know you're in trouble if in trying to make a comedy, the best scene is a serious one, hinting at where the overall tone of "The Guilt Trip" should have been in the first place. I mean Seth Rogen has shown he has been able to drama and comedy before but shows he has no idea here of how to be the straight man and Barbra Streisand's once great comic instincts have apparently atrophied to very little over the decades. That leaves it to Brett Cullen to steal the scene he is in, with another highlight involving a strip club. Because otherwise all you are left with are the cliches of the road movie genre, with the accompanying overwhelming product placement. The saddest thing is this might be the closest we come to a big screen adaptation of "Middlesex."
The answer? Sometimes star power works.
This is a PHONE BOOK MOVIE. That is, Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen, together onscreen for the first but hopefully not the last time, could have read said book and I would have been content. Seth Rogen is becoming a favorite of mine for his utterly naturalistic approach to material. He once again won me over as Andy Brewster, an aspiring entrepreneur, who takes his mother (Babs) along on a cross country road trip to sell his innovative cleaning product and to hook Mom up with her long lost love. Oh, it doesn't really matter, because this film is the best excuse I've seen in a long time to put this pair together. Perfectly cast as mother and son, Streisand and Rogen have true chemistry. They're a joy to watch, and as labored as the plotting is, you kind of just want to sit in a car with them as they listen to MIDDLESEX (hilarious choice), or
be a fly on the wall as she crunches M&Ms in bed, much to her son's consternation. Because the pair are totally invested in their roles, I was too, and cared enough about them to even shed a tear at the end.
Streisand hasn't been this loose and fun in many many years. Gone is the self-serious bucket of nails and left-side only posing. It's been replaced by someone who clearly knows her character, a needy, kvetchy but not unlikeable mom who gets a charge from spending time with her boy. It's sweet, tender, and blissfully un-ironic. She also looks great. Not for 70. She just looks great, period. There's not a whiff of "Rich Woman Slumming Through a Studio Programmer" vibe at all. Streisand seems to be having the time of her life making a heroine out of a coupon-clipping, boundary-free, yet surprisingly insightful woman. Of course, there's an endless, somewhat pointless sequence in which she must eat a 50 ounce steak in a Texas Honkytonk, but it's also entirely defensible to say it's fun to watch a diva chomp down on meat.
Rogen also seems energized by his co-star's presence. This is a very controlled performance, a slow burn which erupts time and again in just the right places. It's refreshing to take him out of his comfort zone where he's surrounded by his fellow slackers and examine who a guy like that has to operate in the real world. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the evolution of his sales pitches over the course of the film.
Now remember, I didn't say this was good. There are way too many useless celebrity cameos, which seem to exist solely so that each of them can say they shared the screen with Barbra. But really, Casey Wilson, Miriam Margolyes, Colin Hanks, Nora Dunn, Adam Scott, and Ari Graynor are way too good to be thrown away like this. And don't get me started on the technical elements, which are mostly flat, uninteresting compositions, dull production design, and overall simply professional in its best moments. Doesn't matter. I'll be the first in line to watch Andy and Joyce take a EUROPEAN GUILT TRIP!
Rogen and Barbra are great together on screen. They have a great chemistry, but they need better material to work with than this.
In this PG-13-rated comedy, an inventor (Rogen) and his widow mom (Streisand) hit the road together so he can sell his latest invention.
Both Streisand and Rogen have given better performances and made better movies, which certainly gives meaning to the title, The Way We Were. Here, under the capable direction of Anne Flecther (27 Dresses, The Proposal), they turn in a comedy that's not entirely worthy of their talents, but not entirely a black spot on their CV either. It's just a mensch of a vehicle hopelessly on cruise control.
Bottom Line: Meet the Schlockers.