So we have a movie about a man who decides to bring his mother with him on a trip across the country. Sound a little familiar? We’ve already seen this, or something along these lines, before, right? I know I have. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Due Date. Just to name a couple. However, even though those had similar plots, and were much more farcical, there still remains some fun to be had in the new Seth Rogan comedy, The Guilt Trip. The fact is, while the movie isn’t that great, or even memorable, it still bursts a few times with some legitimately funny and sentimental moments.
Andy Brewster (Seth Rogan) is an inventor of a new cleaning product. The only problem is, no company will give him the time of the day to demonstrate it. Now, after returning home to his mother, he is about to embark on a road trip across the country to various companies to work on presenting the product and possibly signing a deal. Out of the goodness of his heart, Andy decides to allow his overly protective mother (Barbra Streisand) to accompany him on the trip. And then… like all other movies that follow this plotline, the accompanier causes trouble.
Seth Rogan, while not having a quality to take the best of roles, does a fairly average job in The Guilt Trip, offering nothing to go ballistic about, but nothing to complain about either. In fact, I busted a gut on more than a few of his lines, which is largely credited to screenwriter Dan Fogelman (writer of 2011’s Crazy, Stupid, Love, which was one of my favorite movies of that year). The script also has a very good ending and the road leading up to it is littered with some would be clichés that turn on themselves, resulting in a delectable experience. The script certainly does have its problems, but I feel that the good mildly outweighs the bad here, even if the good is just peeking about the halfway point. Barbra Streisand does a pretty good job as the ever obsessive mother who is that standard B-movie character that always drives you insane. The only thing that’s different here is that that is a part of her character and she is supposed to be annoying. And she does it well. So well that you will occasionally wince at just how annoying she actually is. Unlike Zach Galifinakis’ character in Due Date, who was intentionally annoying but also entertaining and funny whilst being it, Streisand almost gets to the point where she is so annoying I wanted her to just get off the screen. Granted, she was funny in a lot of cases, but some of the time I just couldn’t stand her. Also, Adam Scott (Step Brothers) has a nice little cameo toward the end and the rest of the cast offers really nothing bad but nothing that is really worthy of even mentioning.
Overall, this movie really doesn’t offer anything new to the table, but in some cases, like this one, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It is nowhere near being as bad as I thought it would be, even if it is just average. It has some good dialogue that is accurate to mother-son conversations, Rogan’s character has some pretty funny lines, and even though the chemistry between Rogan and Streisand felt a little weak, I still had some fun with them. Not one of the better comedies of the year, but a cute little film that would probably be more satisfying if rented and watched with your mom.
Run Time: 96 mins
Rated: PG-13 for language and some risqué material
Starring: Seth Rogan, Barbra Streisand, and Brett Cullen
Written by: Dan Fogelman
Directed by: Anne Fletcher