HOLLYWOOD—Though not a
Holiday film, the recent release of the comedy "The Guilt Trip” directed by Anne Fletcher was one of good timing, as both sentiment and humor perfectly balance each other out in a way that is always appropriate for this time of year.
“Guilt Trip” is a story about a mom and son who take on a trip that draws a re- evaluation of themselves as individuals, yet solidifying the inexplicable love between parent and child that the mother, Joyce (Barbara Streisand), makes apparent from the very start of the film. Awaiting the arrival of son Andy (Seth Rogan), before he sets out for an eight-day road trip across the country in attempt to sell a cleaning product that he invented is one missed call after the next with voicemail on top of voicemail showing her obvious eagerness to see her son. Andy, an introvert and one of those “too smart for their own good” personality types, is arguably a polar opposite from his mother, a quirky and fun loose canyon whom Streisand plays with perfection.
Barbara Streisand and Seth Rogen star in "Guilt Trip."
Though clearly annoyed by her obsessive antics, Andy decides to invite his mom along with him after hearing her heartfelt confession about a former love that she knew before Andy’s father. With the hidden intentions of reconnecting the two of them, he sacrifices his own sanity by bringing her along on a trip with a series of moments that are painful for him, yet hilarious for viewers.
On the surface, the film’s title would have you believe he invites his mother along out of guilt for not being as close to her as she might want, but the guilt factor doesn’t play in until she soon finds out his ulterior motive for bringing her along. Joyce is let down by the fact that it was not just to spend time with her, the only motive she would have really wanted. A realization for both viewers and characters soon develops that tells us he brought her along for the sake of love, the love for his mother that fuels his desire to see her happy.
Despite his role as a straight-laced scientist, a sharp contrast to his usual burnout characters, Rogan still maintains the sarcastic and quick-to-respond humor that his fans adore. His notable style of comedy co-exists in perfect harmony with Streisand’s silliness in the film, as he always has a quickly formed comment in response to Joyce’s goofy behavior.
Some would argue submersing yourself in the lives of only two people for an hour and a half gets dull at a certain point. While most of the scenes in this film really do have either only two characters or have others in them, but with no heavy emphasis; this picture conveys the bond between mother and son that is the anchor of the story.
The playful interaction between these two characters in “Guilt Trip” is fun and entertaining, and succeeds in achieving deep involvement while requiring little thought or critical attention. Viewers will leave the story with an understanding of the complexities of a mother’s love for her child, and appreciate how easy it is to keep them loving us despite our faults.