DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews
 
THE GUILT TRIP (director: Anne Fletcher; screenwriter: Dan Fogelman; cinematographer: Oliver Stapleton; editors: Priscilla Nedd Friendly, Dana E. Glauberman; music: Christophe Beck; cast: Seth Rogen (Andy Brewster),  Barbra Streisand (Joyce Brewster), Colin Hanks (Rob), Julene Renee  (K-Mart Receptionist), Adam Scott (Andrew Margolis, Jr.), Kathy Najimy (Gayle), Brett Cullen (Ben Graw), Colin Hanks (Rob), Miriam Margolyes (Anita), Yvonne Strahovski (Jessica), Nora Dunn (Amy); Runtime: 96; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Seth Rogen, Barbra Streisand, Mary McLaglen, Dan Fogelman, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Paul Schwake; Paramount; 2012)

"A mild and forgettable road comedy."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

It was originally titled “My Mother’s Curse.” The time killer star vehicle is a mild and forgettable road comedy (set mostly in hotels and in the car) about a quirky neurotic mother-son relationship. The two go together on a car trip from New Jersey to California, Texas and the South. It's directed tepidly by Anne Fletcher (“27 Dresses” /“The Proposal”) and vapidly written by Dan Fogelman. To make matters worse, there's no chemistry between the stars, Rogen & Streisand, when that was the pic's selling point. Also no song from the iconic 70-year-old singer and is filled with pushy product placements.

It wants to tap into the Oedipal myth as it relates to the culture clash between generations, but neglects to say much about it that matters.

Oy vey...Barbra Streisand is the widowed, lonely, overbearing Jewish mother of Seth Rogen, a depressed but ambitious nerdy 38-year-old bachelor who is an LA based organic chemist/inventor. The boy has a new miracle green product he's trying to get distributed in the American market, and goes on the road to hustle his product to several retailers (like K-Mart, Orchard and Costco) across the States when he gets the bright idea to bring mom along. First stop from his N.J. hometown is in San Francisco, where he plans to reunite mom with her first love Andy. During the cross-country trip his doting mom gabs away non-stop about all kinds of  gossip, her son's possible sexual problems and brings up guilt trip stuff from his childhood. She unloads on him trying to make a funny or make him uncomfortable, as Rogen plays straight-man to his mom's comical antics and unfortunately is not in his usual crude character mode to comically respond.

If the film's supposedly best comical moment has Streisand gulping down a giant portion of steak in Texas, you realize things are not that digestible in this amiable but not satisfying sentimental film.

REVIEWED ON 6/25/2018       GRADE: C-

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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