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The Guilt Trip - Review

The Guilt Trip

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

BARBRA Streisand and Seth Rogen make a surprisingly agreeable mother and son in road comedy The Guilt Trip but sadly their efforts go largely wasted in an underwhelming and curiously plotted movie.

Written by Dan Fogelman, who hit comedic gold with his screenplay for Crazy, Stupid, Love, and who based some of the story on his own experience of a journey with his mother, the film nevertheless feels contrived and, for long periods, aimless.

The central conceit, too, is difficult to get behind – that a mother or father would name their child after the one true love that got away.

The mother in question is widowed Jewish New Yorker Joyce (Streisand) who, upon dropping this bombshell on inventor son Andy (Rogen), moves him to track down the man in question to San Francisco.

Andy then invites Joyce to take a road trip with him across America, during which he’ll attempt to sell the environmentally friendly cleaning product he has invented, while hopefully reuniting the two former lovers in their twilight years.

The ensuing comedy-drama is directed by Anne Fletcher (of The Proposal fame) and is light on big laughs, while struggling to engage emotionally.

There is the obligatory mother-son bickering, the inevitable bonding and not much in between as the road trip in question proves curiously short on major incident, save for the sight of seeing Streisand devour a super-sized steak in order to get a free meal.

Rogen and Streisand acquit themselves well in the lead roles, even though the latter’s motor mouthed tendencies often test the patience. While the film’s conclusion is handled with surprising subtlety, thereby allowing for a genuinely affecting moment between them.

But one or two nice scenes aside, The Guilt Trip, while never really bad, is never really good either with several of the story decisions striking dud notes from which it struggles to recover.

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 95mins
UK Release Date: March 8, 2013