The Guilt Trip
Premise: Seth Rogen is selling a revolutionary new cleaning product that uses all natural ingredients on a cross-country road trip... and he must go on this journey with (RECORD SCRATCH) his overbearing mother!
-I thought it was consistently funny. Not quite boisterous laughter levels of funny, but it was chuckle-worthy throughout.
-I'm always a sucker for movies with this subject matter, coming from a childhood (and some of my adulthood) of being raised by an overly nice, smothering mom. A lot of it gets nailed pretty spot on, like her trying to get you to eat dinner with her middle-aged friends or her trying to constantly groom you in public. Also, never underestimate a mom's desire to have weird gizmos like a table top purse hanger.
-Rogen and Streisand have pretty good chemistry, and they felt like a natural mother/son combo.
-The film actually has emotion, and surprisingly for this type of lazy comedy, I actually cared about the characters. And the characters inevitably come to a satisfying emotional conclusion. It felt a little forced, but it was a sweet ending that made me feel good. It's a feel good movie.
-I've never been a fan of Barbara Streisand at any point in my life. I've probably never even seen a full, classic movie that she's been in. But I liked her in The Guilt Trip. In fact, if I ever had to give a perfect example of a cute old lady, I think she might be the best option. Barbara Streisand > Betty White.
-The scene about waiting for free drinks while playing Las Vegas casino games was pretty spot on. I've definitely been in the situation of spending $5 on a machine while trying to get $20 worth of free drinks.
-The film is short and has a pretty straight forward plot. Didn't feel overly long.
-Falls into a few cliché traps of the average road trip movie. Wacky, overly regional environments like a bar filled with cowboys are the kind of scenes that hold it back. Of course Rogen gets punched in the face. Of course they pick up a hitchhiker. I thought the best scenes just involved Rogen and Streisand interacting with each other in hotel rooms. When outside characters were brought in, the film suffered a little bit.
-I understand the mom character was supposed to be naive and slightly stupid (in a cute way), but things like misreading "Topless Bar" for "Topas Bar" were cheap jokes that made her way dumber than she was supposed to be. That happened a few times during the film.
-It's enjoyable, but not memorable in any way. Definitely going to forget that I ever saw this in a couple of weeks.
Final Thoughts: The Guilt Trip is a harmless, cute PG-13 comedy. I think most people will enjoy it, but nobody is going to love it. I know some people can't stand Seth Rogen anymore, and those are the people who will probably flat-out dislike this movie. But to be fair, this isn't full force obnoxious Rogen; he plays a more grounded character (that doesn't get high all the time). He's simply a character, in a movie he didn't write, that could have been played by anyone else just as good. He didn't really bring his usual persona to the role that much. But it's got some laughs and some surprising emotion if you give it a chance. But it's not any kind of essential viewing.
6.5 out of 10
I saw this movie yesterday. Your review is spot on Scott.