Movie Review: The Guilt Trip

I don’t have much to say about The Guilt Trip, Barbra Streisand’s first starring movie role in decades other than to say it’s a warm, family film you should take your mother to see during the holidays. I like these mother-child reunion movies, such as Mother with Albert Brooks and Debbie Reynolds, and it’s nice to see Streisand in something besides one of those moronic Fockers pictures. It isn’t a laugh riot, and it takes a while to get going, but the theme, which has nothing to do with the title, that proper parenting means preparing your child for life is perfectly played. As her struggling entrepreneur son Andy, Seth Rogen refrains from his usual gross gags and deals with his nosy, Jewish mother on a road trip with a twist. It’s Rogen and Streisand all the way, in mostly pleasant and predictable settings and scenes about what she’s missed in life and what he’s still missing and the pair have a relaxed screen chemistry. The basic plot – he’s trying to launch a cleaning product he’s invented and she’s tying up loose ends – is undemanding but it works, it’s amusing and, unlike most modern movies, The Guilt Trip doesn’t smother the script with schmaltz, sidelines and junk. Written by Dan Fogelman, who wrote the charming Crazy, Stupid, Love. and directed by Anne Fletcher, who directed the screwball comedy The Proposal, this is more about the journey and less about inducing guilt and Streisand is appealing playing against type as an older, red-meat, middle class mom.

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