SETH ROGAN BARBARA STREISAND
It’s been a couple of years since award winning singer, producer, director and actor Barbara Streisand has been on the big screen. Sure, she made those silly appearances in the ‘Focker’ sequels, but this is the first time Streisand has taken on a lead role since The Mirror Has Two Faces in 1996. Teamed up with Rogan, who has become quite the box office draw, the team also served as executive producers. The Guilt Trip was nowhere to be found when the recent Golden Globe nominations were announced; many assumed (including me) the Hollywood Foreign Press would nominate Streisand in the best actress comedy category. The Guilt Trip doesn’t really offer anything exciting or unique, and both Rogan and Streisand play these parts fairly straight laced.
While visiting his widowed mother in New Jersey, Andrew (Rogan) learns of his mom’s first and very deep love with a man she named him after. Andrew is a chemist/inventor and has created a product of organic material that he promises will clean better than any rival household product. He invites his mother to road trip with him across country as he pitches this idea to various companies. Ecstatic at the idea of spending time with her son, Joyce (Streisand) packs a ton of luggage, her Oprah book club’s on cd, and enough chatter to fill the SUV that she talked her son out of for a compact car to save money.
There are actually moments in this film that make some of the journey bearable, but this isn’t a film that will appeal to everyone. Sons close to their mothers might have a great time watching this with their mom’s because such a wide variety of comical skits are touched on that I bet one will hit close to home. Streisand actually has a hard job here because she has to constantly spout out dialogue; she never ceases. Even when they are fighting and Andrew finally yells “shut up!”, her reply after a brief silence is “I don’t know what to say.” Rogan plays the punching bag or the quiet one, which is actually the opposite of what he typically plays.
The Guilt Trip plays the comedy much like Rogan’s previous film 50/50, with half drama and half comedy. The only reason this movie partially works is because of that childhood video Andrew rediscovers his mom watching early in the film with the same cute little toddler she still sees in him as an adult. The amount of mother/son movies out there are few and for that reason, combined with the fact that it’s Babs, I think The Guilt Trip can offer something memorable for a specific audience.
Final Thought – A few heavy hearted moments make the trip endurable.
Grade C+ By: Dustin Chase