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Rogen and Streisand hit the road, and the comedic results are far more entertaining than they have any right to be...
Paramount / 96 Minutes / 2012 / Rated PG-13 / Street Date: April 30, 2013
Barbra Streisand has made it very clear in the past decade or so that she doesn’t need to work in Hollywood unless she wants to, and this elite paradigm insists that there’s something to The Guilt Trip, believe it or not. The movie was advertised as a Hangover-style comedy for the “Memories” crowd, but even if Anne Fletcher’s film defaults to comedy cliché more often than it should, one can’t deny that there’s a legitimate, endearing beating heart underneath the veneer of the movie.
Babs’ on-screen partnership with Seth Rogen is what sells the movie (unsurprisingly). Rogen may not be Hollywood’s most reliable comic leading man, but when the guy shares the screen with Streisand – who’s still got her acting chops, by the way – he frequently rises to the occasion. And when the two of them find themselves in awkward and trying scenarios (this happens often in The Guilt Trip), there’s a legitimate verve and excitement to the chemistry at hand.
Our film follows young Andy (Rogen), a young man trying to make a living as an inventor (?), who has what can only politely be called a ‘challenging’ relationship with his hard-ass, constantly-prying mother (Streisand). Andy’s father passed away a while ago, but in conversation, mama lets on that she once felt a pang of love for a man now living in San Francisco, and in an attempt to get her to shut the hell up about Andy’s dating life, etc., he puts her in the car and they head west.
The Guilt Trip is a slight film, almost a paper-thin one, but it’s short, to-the-point, and surprisingly watchable. There are no extreme fireworks or examples of embarrassment nudity to shock its audience: the movie quietly and preciously unfolds with steady cuteness. It’s not the best comedy to hit screens in 2012, but I’d wager big money that you’ll watch the thing and say that it’s way better than you thought it would be.