The Guilt Trip
All of the complimenting chemistry between Barbara Streisand and Seth Rogen — playing mother and son — can’t compensate for an lethargic comedy by screenwriter Dan Fogelman (“Crazy, Stupid, Love”). Barely a blip of an audience chuckles ever erupt.
Nagging mom Joyce (Streisand) wants nothing but the best for her son Andrew (Rogen). A wife and success with his one-man business as the inventor of “Scioclean,” a green cleaning product would satisfy mom. Andrew might be a great organic chemist, but he isn’t much of a pitchman. He’s running low on funds to make his dream come true. Time is running out. To distract from his own problems, Andrew hatches a covert plan to connect mom with her long-lost first love after some breakfast table talk reveals the crush she still holds. Andres’s shorthand detective work reveals that Joyce’s beau from her youth lives at the opposite end of the country in San Francisco.
Andrew invites Joyce on a cross-country road trip from her home in New Jersey to tag along while he meets with prospective wholesalers that might develop, produce, and distribute Scioclean. A cramped rental car fails to squeeze out any laughs as the familial pair make their way through shared motel rooms, predictably humorless pitch meetings with business reps, and an ill-conceived eating contest wherein Joyce consumes an inhuman amount of beef. “The Guilt Trip” is one more example of everything wrong with the Hollywood movie machine. The film is nothing but movie “product.” It doesn’t matter that it’s no good because it will make a certain amount of profit regardless of its quality. Even watching crap like this as a captive audience on an airplane is a mistake.
Rated PG-13. 96 mins. (D) (One Star - out of five/no halves)