Guilt Trip: An organic chemist takes his mother on a country-wide road trip while he tries to sell his invention.
Anne Fletcher, director The Proposal and 27 Dresses, returns to the helmer's chair to tell the tale of a mother and son on a long road trip. Based on a screenplay from Dan Fogelman (Crazy, Stupid, Love and Tangled) with elements from his own relationship with his mother, Fletcher takes an established genre staple and makes it into something new.
Organic chemist Andy Brewster (Seth Rogen, For a Good Time, Call...) flies to New Jersey to visit with his mother Joyce (Barbra Streisand, Little Fockers) before planning to left on a road trip across the country to shop his new invention, a household cleaner safer than the major brands and created with wholly organic ingredients.
When his mother tells Andy a story that affected both of their lives, Andy takes it upon himself to invite Joyce along on the trip. Once on the road, the differences between them grow as Joyce tries to offer her advice on his love life and how he should pitch the invention that he took five years to develop.
The Guilt Trip is a love letter of sorts between Dan Fogelman and his mother. He did, in fact, take a road with his mother. The story that she told her son, while not exact to the screenplay, is an element that ties mother and son together. One of the scenes that Barbra Striesand undertakes that is a direct true event from Fogelman's mother. It involves a steak, a stage, and a sixty minute countdown. Sometimes the exaggeration of true events are better than anything that we can type up from our imagination.
Seth Rogen plays a more dour character than we are used to seeing from him. He tries to be the happy-go-lucky type, but years of research for his invention has left him on the verge of being penniless, perpetually alone, and dependent on the success of his product. Barbra Streisand, as the mother, embodies the spirit of a loving Jewish mother.
Joyce shows her son affection with food, repeated voicemail calls, and prying questions about Andy's lack of a girlfriend. Both Rogen and Streisand show great chemistry onscreen, brought out by methods that only hundreds of fictional movie miles can produce.
Dozens of buddy road trip films have made their way to the big screen — from Due Date to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, from Thelma and Louise to Kalifornia, buddy road trip films are abundant. But The Guilt Trip treads into a little bit new territory by pairing up a mother and her son in a coast-to-coast road trip. The sophomoric humor is reduced in favor of the uncomfortable quirks of two generations of family. Both make the best of the situation with only the best of intentions toward each other, but each has their own regrets keeping them from living complete lives.
The Guilt Trip takes a trip from New Jersey to San Francisco, taking a few funny and unexpected turns along the way. The ending has a bit of a surprise while being true to the expectations of the journey. Cute and entertaining, this movie keeps rolling along at a steady clip, not even slowing down for foul weather.
The Guilty Trip is a great movie to take your own mother to. It will entertain both parents and their grown children. If a cute comedy is what you are looking for, this film may be the one to get yourself in gear for.
★ ★ ★ 1/2 out of 5 buckets | Matinee or DVD
Rated: PG-13 - Language and some risque material.
Release Date: December 19, 2012
Runtime: 1 hour 36 minutes
Director: Anne Fletcher
Writers: Andrew Dominik, based on the novel 'Cogan's Trade' by George V. Higgins
Cast: Seth Rogen, Barbra Streisand, Brent Cullen, Colin Hanks, Yvonne Strahovski, Adam Scott