The Guilt Trip: Rated “PG-13“ (120 Minutes)
Starring: Seth Rogen, Barbra Streisand, Yvonne Strahovski, Adam Scott, Kathy Najimy
Directed by: Anne Fletcher
Andy Brewster is a modern-day cliché. He is an adult Jewish male who is the only child of Single mom, Joyce (Streisand) who totally loves her son, but is a typically overbearing (Jewish) mom and tends to “over-mothers” him. (not that there is really anything wrong with that — after all, she really does love her boy, and only wants the best for him). As for Andy, he’s a chemist and has invented a new cleaning product that he intends to travel cross-country intending to interest several companies in picking up and adding to their inventory.
Unfortunately for Andy, his mom raised him to be a good son, but he really was never taught to have an actual backbone and has an exceedingly difficult time saying “no” to mom. Hence he is something of a typical mamma’s boy (which, by the by, isn’t all that bad of a thing either). Especially after he hears a tale his mom never told him about the boy she dated (and totally loved) before she met his dad. After all these years later (Andy’s dad passed away when he was eight), she still pines away for this other guy. So Andy does what all good sons do, he looks up to see if the other guy is still alive, and discovers that he not only is, but (apparently) still works for the same ad agency, lives in San Francisco, and has never been married.
So Andy does what any true good son would do, he invites his mom along for his road trip with the intention of making the last stop at her old beau’s home so that he can re-introduce them. Needless to say, as they drive across some 3,000 miles of U.S. highway, Andy is constantly aggravated by her “mom” antics, which continue to make him crazy. Still, they do both love each other and as they continue across the country, he comes to realize that their lives have more in common than he originally thought. Ultimately, his mother’s advice might end up being exactly what he needs.
Streisand — who (save for her role in the Meet the Parents films (2004 & 2010) hasn’t appeared in a movie since The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996) — turns in a wonderful performance opposite Rogen — who is so totally not the actor that you would have ever expected to have been paired with Streisand. Yet the teaming works and they have such a wonderful chemistry together that you simply gloss over how annoying Streisand’s character would be in real life. Here that personality and the milquetoast son that it created are thoroughly enjoyable for laughs and the wonderful entertainment that it creates. Go and enjoy yourself (and Streisand) in this sweet, endearing film.
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing films for some 30 years. During that time, his movie reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web.