The Guilt Trip (2012) – Review

2 1/2 Stars

I tend to stay away from using the word ‘cute’ in describing any movie. But, The Guilt Trip can’t be labeled any other way. Sporting a (much appreciated) laid back performance from the likable lug known as Seth Rogen and a very funny turn from Barbra Streisand, outshining anything she had previously done in the Focker movies. Short and sweet, this modestly budgeted film is sure to make those with even the hardest hearts, pick up the phone and call mom.

Andy is an organic engineer who has created a revolutionary cleaning product. Scio-clean is the safest, least harmful household cleaning supply in existence. Unfortunately, Andy is a less than stellar salesman, unable to get through his bumbling pitch without boring audiences. The constant rejection has left him shaken as he sets out on a cross-country drive that will allow the young inventor to pitch his product to the top retailers in the nation. Before he starts out on the eight-day trek, Andy makes a visit home to New Jersey to see his over-protective and slightly neurotic mother, Joyce (Barbra Streisand).

During his short stay Andy discovers his mother had a love affair with a man days before she married his father and conceived him. Joyce assures him that the man is not Andy’s biological father, but he is his namesake. Andy, in a fit of shock researches the gentleman, now in his 70’s and running a marketing firm in San Francisco. So he invites Joyce to accompany him on the road trip in the hopes of reuniting her with her long-lost love. First the pair must voyage across the vast American landscape, encountering utterly predictable obstacles and outcomes with stops for blatant product placement.

It may then come as a surprise that I’m giving this movie a mild recommendation. It is a harmless retread of Planes, Trains and Automobiles with a touch of Tommy Boy, that doesn’t over stay its welcome unlike the recent family comedy Parental Guidance. I liked The Guilt Trip, with a few nips and tucks it could become a perennial holiday family favorite. The kind of film that wouldn’t suffer being viewed in twenty-minute increments on TNT. Luckily the winning screen chemistry from the leads is so entertaining it rises this sentimental fluff into the realm of ‘cute’. There I go with that damn adjective, again.

Director: Anne Fletcher
Stars: Barbra Streisand, Seth Rogen, Adam Scott

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