The Guilt Trip

Movie Information

The Story: A schlubby inventor who’s traveling the country hawking his wares invites his mother along in an attempt to reunite her with a long lost love. The Lowdown: A painless, pointless attempt at a feel-good movie that's hardly memorable.
Genre: Family Comedy
Director: Anne Fletcher (The Proposal)
Starring: Seth Rogen, Barbra Streisand, Brett Cullen, Adam Scott
Rated: PG-13

Sometimes a movie comes along and I’ve just got no idea who it’s meant for. Anne Fletcher’s The Guilt Trip lies firmly within that realm. It’s the kind of feel-good comedic pap that gets fobbed off around the holidays, but lacks any real heart or warmth. Starring almost exclusively Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand, the movie verges on quaint, and misses out on whacky. Honestly, The Guilt Trip isn’t much of anything at all — except just a movie by definition alone.

Working inside a road trip/odd couple premise, we find Andrew (Seth Rogen), a socially awkward chemist who’s invented some sort of all-organic cleaning agent with a wonky name that we’re told is revolutionary. He’s running around the country, trying — ineffectively, I might add — to sell the stuff to various big-box chain stores. Running out of money and making one last go of it, he visits his overbearing, somewhat obnoxious mother, Joyce (Barbra Streisand), and — after hearing her story of a long lost love — decides to take her with him as a means of sneakily reuniting Joyce with her old flame — despite the fact that he finds mom generally embarrassing and clingy.

From here on, the movie is exactly what you expect it to be with hi-jinks (Babs eats a four-pound steak) and familial understandings popping up here and there. Much of the plot is set up within the formula of a rom-com (though thankfully not as creepy as that sounds), with various misunderstandings and reconciliations along the way. Despite its PG-13 rating for “language and some risqué material” (these days “risqué” equates to one scene inside one of those preposterous movie strip clubs where everyone’s naughty bits are covered up, and I guess one unfortunate rape joke that’s in the trailer), The Guilt Trip is too focused on not offending — or maybe pleasing — Babs’ audience to be funny.

All this does is keep the movie from entering the realm of unfunny or even actively awful (like, say, a certain film about a racist, misogynistic talking teddy bear). But this doesn’t make The Guilt Trip a film worth the time or effort of passively sitting through. Rated PG-13 for language and some risqué material.

Playing at Carmike 10, Carolina Asheville Cinema 14, Epic of Hendersonville, Regal Biltmore Grande



Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.