fri 21/02/2020

The Guilt Trip | reviews, news & interviews

The Guilt Trip

The Guilt Trip

Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand star in undemanding road movie with a twist

Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand take a road trip across the States

Of all the pairings you might have thought would star in a cross-generational road movie, I suspect Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand would be the last names you would have put together, despite their undoubted comedic talents.

Rogen is Andy Brewster, an immature single guy who has invented a green cleaning product that he's schlepping around various uninterested companies, Streisand his long-widowed smothering mother Joyce, constantly calling him with inane questions that he impatiently replies to if he can bothered. They live at opposite ends of the country and don't see each other much beyond the holidays, but even then nothing of import is discussed.

When Joyce tells Andy out of the blue that he was named after her first love, he decides to track the old guy down (without telling her) and invites her on his business road trip to meet him. What follows is a predictable sequence of bickering, making up, getting into various scrapes and mother and son seeing each other as discrete adults for the first time.

There's little interplay with other characters - including a blink-and-you'll-miss-her Miriam Margolyes as Joyce's friend - as most of the action takes place in the car Andy and Joyce have hired to drive from New Jersey to San Francisco. A scene where Andy meets his first teenage girlfriend, a turning point in the film, is curiously underplayed, as is a sequence involving a southern steakhouse that should have provided broader comedy; Streisand has to down a huge steak dinner to win $100, and it's where she meets the handsome cowboy Ben (Brett Cullen, pictured), who is immediately smitten with her: “I like a woman who can eat.”

Anne Fletcher's soft-handed direction has moments of subtlety, including the denouement, and she reins in Rogen - there is none of the scatalogical humour one usually associates with him - while allowing Streisand to parlay a Jewish mother whose constant badgering is about love, not control.

Dan Fogelman's script is apparently based on a real-life story involving him and his mother and Fletcher heroically manages to avoid Hollywood schmaltz until the final scenes, when of course the two declare their love for each other. But then, they are in an airport and they are saying goodbye, so one can't carp. There are disappointingly few comedy sparks between Streisand and Rogen, which makes The Guilt Trip a rather shallow piece but, released in time for Mothering Sunday in the UK, it's an undemanding 90 minutes.

  • The Guilt Trip is released on Friday
There's little interplay with other characters as most of the action takes place in the car

rating

Editor Rating: 
2
Average: 2 (1 vote)

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