The Guilt Trip (2012)

The Guilt Trip (2012) – So it’s Christmas Day, as some of you may have noticed. My family goes to the movies pretty much every Christmas. A lot of families do, I know. Anyway the studios know this so a bunch of big movies open on Christmas Day. This year there’s Quentin Tarantino’s new slavery-era spaghetti western Django Unchained, which I have wanted to see since before I even knew about it. There’s the long-awaited film adaptation of the major musical Les Misérables. There’s Judd Apatow’s latest run at the raunchy drama-comedy hybrid genre with This is 40. Plus there’s some other movies like Hitchcock and Silver Linings Playbook that I haven’t gotten around to seeing yet. You have probably noticed by now that you are not currently reading a review of any of those movies. As I said, my FAMILY goes to the movies on Christmas Day. My mom thought that slavery, scatological humor, or a movie literally entitled The Miserable might be a little heavy for the holiday (and she may have a valid point there). She wanted to see The Guilt Trip. Being the good son I am, I obliged (after all she’s seen a TON of movies with me that probably weren’t her cup of tea). My mom gave birth to me, the least I can do is suffer through some lightweight mother-son comedy.

Andy Brewster (Seth Rogen) is a chemist who has invented a new ecologically friendly and effective cleaning product he calls Scieoclean (pronounced “sigh-oh-clean”). He has mass-produced a few thousand bottles of the stuff and now just needs some big retailer to carry it. He visits his mother Joyce (Barbara Streisand) before he begins his big cross-country road trip to find vendors. It’s a visit where Joyce annoys Andy and Andy handles it poorly. Anyway, at one point Joyce opens up about her lost love that she dated before Andy’s father. Thinking his mother needs a man other than him in her life, Andy looks the guy up. He lives in San Francisco. Andy invites Joyce along with him on his cross-country business trip, which will now conclude in San Francisco instead of Las Vegas (where Andy’s last actual meeting is). Hijinks ensue, filled with an ex-girlfriend of Andy’s (Yvonne Strahovski), an older handsome cowboy (Brett Cullen), and a strip club.

Okay, let’s get one thing off the bat: this is not what I’d call a good movie. It is predictable (save for one thing I thought was going to go a different way, but that just means that I was wrong, not that it wouldn’t be predictable for other people) and really does wallow in just about every overbearing Jewish mother stereotype in the book. (There’s a book? Who would write such a book?) With all that I mind, I do got to say it had its moments. While the character is a stereotype, Streisand does bring some emotional grounding to it. Rogen manages to bring his usual humor to the movie (if you’re a fan of his anyway, which I am). Parts are kind of funny. Parts are kind of sweet. This is a movie that will elicit a few lukewarm responses from you. I wouldn’t particularly to advise anyone to go and see it, but if you’re stuck watching it (if, for example, a family member who has done many wonderful things for you wishes to go see it on a special day) then it’s not a movie you will suffer sitting through.

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