The Guilt Trip

Seth Rogen, The Guilt Trip, Barbra Streisand

The Guilt Trip looked like it could be a fun "buddy" movie, only this case with a mom and her son instead of two men or two women, but unfortunately it's not that funny. Barbra Streisand hasn't been in a film since 2010's Little Fockers, but I thought Seth Rogen's reputation for comedy meant the pair would mesh well together, which they did; however, the script holds them back from making this movie a memorable one.

Andy Brewster (Rogen) has invented "Scioclean," an all-natural cleaning product that is not as toxic as its competitors. He's spent the past five years developing the product, and now it's time to hit the road and find a company that wants to buy it. After his mother (Streisand) tells him a story about her first love, Andy looks him up and finds out he lives in San Francisco; he was planning on ending his trip in Vegas, but decides to add San Fran to his trip, and invites his mother to go with him. Along the way, they encounter a snowstorm, a four-pound steak, and many arguments, but they end up growing closer as well.

What was interesting about this movie was that there were a few sort-of funny laughs throughout, and then Rogen would bust out with a few lines that were genuinely hilarious; I have to wonder if those were ad-libbed, based on the script. The screening I saw of this was on a Sunday afternoon, and afterwards there was a live Q&A with Rogen and Streisand via satellite, to our theater and about 19 others - I believe that they were somewhere in California also before a movie audience - and audiences from all of the screenings were able to email in their questions via their phones. Rogen said that a bit of it was ad-libbed, so it's possible these lines were too. The main thing they said that was interesting was that - semi-spoiler! - they didn't actually travel at all during the movie. Streisand doesn't drive, apparently, and they shot the entire movie on soundstages throughout Malibu and the surrounding areas; I was surprised to learn this because it definitely didn't seem like it during the film - they went to Las Vegas, in the movie, and stayed at Caesars Palace, and it really looked like they were in one of their rooms.

Maybe see this film. There's a lot of sweet moments in it between a son and his mom, and a few that makes you feel pity for both characters, too, but the film simply wasn't as funny as I thought it was going to be. This film is actually the least funniest of all Seth Rogen's movies, in my opinion, out of those I have seen; not to say that his performance was bad, because it wasn't, but the script needs to be revitalized, perhaps by Rogen himself. If you end up seeing The Guilt Trip, you may even chuckle throughout it, but ultimately it was not laugh-out-loud funny like it's trying to promote itself to be.

The Guilt Trip is in theaters today, December 19th, and is rated PG-13 with a runtime of 95 minutes. 2.5 stars out of 5.

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