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The Guilt Trip

The Guilt Trip

Movie
Studio(s): 
Director(s): 
Genre: 
In Theatres: 
Dec 19, 2012
Grade:
A-
Running Time: 
1 Hour, 36 Minutes
BOTTOM LINE:

Streisand and Rogen create a chemistry that causes The Guilt Trip to explode with humor and heart.

Inventor Andrew Brewster (Seth Rogen) has had a bad string of luck. Unable to find comfort in pitching his brilliant cleaning product, he returns back home to visit his mother, Joyce (Barbara Streisand), to distract himself from his failure. A few days at home and Andrew discovers that his mother has lost her true love before she even met Andrew's father. Curious to find out who this man is, Andrew tracks down this mystery man and plans his business road trip around visiting him in San Francisco. However, the trip is just missing one thing: Joyce. Despite her nagging and nosy nature, Andrew invites his mother on his cross country expedition. Over the next eight days, Joyce and Andrew meet cowboys, get in bar fights, pick up hitchhikers and rekindle lost loves. But how will Joyce react when she finds out what's in San Francisco? Will Andrew get closure with his mother by meeting her first love?

It's quite surprising the amount of heart that can be found in The Guilt Trip. The chemistry between not only their characters but Rogen and Streisand alone keep this film afloat with ease. The interesting backstory of Joyce and her inital first love make for some fascinating character studies in not only Joyce but her son as well. As stories begin to unravel, it becomes more clear as to why certain personality traits exist in each character. Given the benefit of a brief synopsis and glimpses, courtesy of trailers, The Guilt Trip might be one of the biggest and best surprises of the year. 

A few things help The Guilt Trip become one of the funniest movies in the past couple of years: Working with a script written by Tangled & Crazy Stupid Love scripe Dan Fogelman immediately helps add charm and charisma to the story, as basic as it may seem. Once it becomes clear that the story and humor share equal screentime, it's not hard to realize the similarities between Crazy Stupid Love and The Guilt Trip. Secondly, it would have been far too easy to turn this vehicle (I know, I know) into a jewish-centric comedy, what with Rogen and Streisand starring (It doesn't help that early trailers showcased a dinner that screams stereotypes by the minute). However, the comedy is kept close to the heart and really works with the mother/son relationship. Granted, some cheap shots are made (stealing hotel shampoo, hunting deals) but it comes across as organic and helps keep things light when heavier stories are visited. With the way comedies are made these days, it's extremely refreshing to find a film that doesn't always take the easy way out in terms of humor and story. This makes way for some hysterical moments and touching scenes. 

Given the timing of its' release, The Guilt Trip could be sold as it is: A warm yet hilarious look at the relationships we love and the secrets we keep. Yet, part of me is pretty excited at the thought of teasing the true product. It's a risky move most studios won't make in worry of finanical loss. If you give your audience respect, they'll respect your product more. It's all risk but one that I believe will help The Guilt Trip to become a massive word of mouth hit. Think My Big Fat Greek Wedding with heart. Tons of potential can be found here and it's a winning combination in my book. 

Benefitting from a witty screenplay, excellent chemistry and great performances from both leads, The Guilt Trip is full of charm and heart to win over any audience member this holiday season and becomes one of the best surprises of the year. 

Ryan Sterritt
Review by Ryan Sterritt
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