The Guilt Trip: Not Entirely Guilt-Free—Movie

Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen as “The Guilt Trip’s” mother and son is inspired casting. Written by Dan Fogelman and directed by Anne Fletcher, “Guilt Trip” explores the mother-son bond of which most of us can identify, be it mother/son/daughter or father/son/daughter.

Rogen is Andy, a smart and talented inventor who’s not as successful as he should be. Streisand is widowed Joyce, the stereotypical, but too often true, Jewish mother. During Andy’s visit home from California to New Jersey, Joyce confesses that he was named after a long-ago first love. In a moment of weakness and with some ulterior motives, Andy invites his mother to go with him on a cross-country business trip.

As the two begin the journey, the movie does get bogged down by the constant bickering between the two (even I was ready to toss Joyce out of the car). But a breakthrough in Texas  serves to lighten the mood and the movie, too. The remaining 45 minutes or so will have you laughing  and leaving the movie fully satisfied, forgetting the dreary beginning.

With “The Guilt Trip”, Rogen demonstrates that he has real acting chops. He has the ability to go for the broad, easy laugh, but can rein it in when called for. He works so well with Streisand that it’s easy to believe they are related. And Streisand? This part seems to come so naturally to her that it makes you wonder how her real son has survived.

Brett Cullen has a nice turn as the cowboy (only an Easterner would consider this urbane Texan guy a cowboy), who takes a shine to Joyce. Other familiar faces pop up throughout—Adam Scott, Yvonne StrahThe Guilt Tripovski (most recently seen in Dexter),  Kathy Najimy, Colin Hanks and Nora Dunn.

But for all the “background noise,” “Guilt Trip” is really a two-person movie—Rogen and Streisand. The film’s success depends upon both of them and they deliver the goods.

2 3/4 nuggets out of 4

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