Seth Rogen has firmly established himself as one of the premiere comedic actors of the last ten years. (He has also written a great many comedy scripts, but seldom gets acknowledged for them.). Not all of his movies have been gold, but he has certainly built up a fan base. So it may have been a little hard for him when he got the script to “The Guilt Trip” and realized he would be the straight man to whoever would be playing his mother, which ended up being Barbra Streisand.
Rogen plays Andrew Brewster, a chemist living in California, who has just invented a new organic cleaning product. His mother Joyce (Streisand) lives on the East Coast, but she calls him several times a day. He goes to visit her before embarking on the road trip of his lifetime trying to sell his new product to retail outlets. Before he leaves, Andrew thinks it may be a good idea to invite his mother on his cross country road trip. She can’t say “Yes” fast enough.
Overall, “The Guilt Trip” is not too funny. There are some laughs here and there, but nothing memorable. Seth Rogen fans will probably be the most disappointed; as this movie does not contain the kind of comedy he is known for. Barbra Streisand gets whatever laughs there are, even though she is playing what appears to be a stereotypical Jewish mother. It’s never specifically stated that they are Jewish. The way Andrew got his name does not follow Jewish tradition, but that is how her character comes off. It is a little over the top in this case.
“The Guilt Trip” is also trying to play up the sentimental side of this story between a mother and her son. While the movie does not completely fail on this aspect, it also does not succeed. It’s just there. Even though the musical score is sentimental in nature, it does not automatically mean the scene in question will come across that way. Andrew may have a problem with the way his mother dotes on him, but he is hardly the perfect son.
Barbra Streisand fans will probably like “The Guilt Trip” more than do Seth Rogen fans. An advanced screening in Aventura had a large number of her fan base present and they laughed a lot more than the younger crowd did. There was a live streaming Q&A with the two stars after the screening, but the only real interesting fact that was shared was when Barbra told the audience she once smoked pot with the late Peter Sellers.
Christmas is only days away and, with that, a flood of new movies in multiple genres is about to be released. “The Guilt Trip” is not going to be one of the better choices out there. It is rated PG-13 for language and some risqué material.