I expected little originality when I went into the theater earlier today to watch Anne Fletcher’s, The Guilt Trip starring Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen but I was giddy with excitement because it stars Barbra Streisand. So let me start from that place – the place where I admit she can do no wrong in my book. It’s freakin’, Barbra Streisand! And, I was not disappointed nor was the film unoriginal. Thank goodness because I’ve needed Barbra back on-screen in earnest after watching those Focker movies where her comedic talents are wasted. And this is her first outing aside from those in more than a decade, if memory serves. So gimme more!
If you’re expecting a roll-on-the-floor comedy The Guilt Trip is not the movie for you. Actually, it’s rather touching and very sweet and the comedy very tame with several missed opportunities for very funny scenes. Nor does this film show what Streisand can do – an accomplished actress and comedic actor, to put it mildly – don’t get me started because she’s just too much for words…but, anyway… The film and its actors choose heart over laughs and ignore many of the expected and tired road-buddy film scenes we’ve seen countless times in countless movies.
Andy Brewster (Rogen), a chemist and inventor is about to cross the country trying to sell his environmentally-safe cleaning product. He stops in to visit his mother, Joyce (Streisand) before setting out on his journey and for reasons I won’t divulge, asks her to join him on the eight-day road trip during which he’ll pitch his product. She offers advice, some nagging, and the two share some nice moments on screen.
By far the best part about The Guilt Trip is the chemistry between Streisand and Rogen. It’s a great pairing the two seem genuinely affectionate. Rogen is less “screamy” and obnoxious than he’s been in other films, although I must admit of those others I’ve Seen only bits and pieces. Of Ms. Streisand – well, I’ve seen everything she’s ever done that’s available to the public and she is perfect in The Guilt Trip as a middle-aged, jewish mother who loves the Gap and who’s concerned about her son’s love life. She’s great in this. Or did I say that already? I’m thrilled this called for her to ACT! No more Fockers, please!
A sweet movie, The Guilt Trip is nice holiday fare if you’ve had it with blockbusters and weekend competitions. In truth, I think this film will do well because all those people out there in the dark who want a relationship movie they don’t have to figure out – you know who you are – will turn out. As they should. In my movie life I’ll now be heading toward a catch up game with Oscar contenders, but given the tough way this year is ending with violence and all manner of negativity in the news, I’m glad The Guilt Trip was my holiday choice – not to mention I saw it with lovelies who are dear to me.