Our Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars
If you don’t count the two “Focker” films, in which she has a supporting role, Barbra Streisand hasn’t starred in a movie since 1996’s “The Mirror Has Two Faces.” Too bad she chose “The Guilt Trip” to end her hiatus.
Andy (Rogen) is an inventor. A scientist by day he has developed an all natural cleaner, gotten FDA approval, and is now about to embark on a cross country trip to peddle his product to various retailers. Before he begins his journey, however, he pays a visit to his mother, Joyce (Streisand). When Joyce confesses a family secret to Andy he decides to ask her along on the road trip. Reluctantly she agrees. And the adventure begins.
Mildly funny in parts (and those parts are so few and far between that I could name them all), “The Guilt Trip” is a step by step formulaic movie…Hollywood 101. You take two people, as different as different can be, put them in the same place and stand back and see what happens. Here it’s almost nothing. As Andy and his mom traverse the country we get a mixed salad of mini-plots, one for each city. Bad weather in Memphis gives us a chance to drop in on Andy’s old girlfriend, now happily married and with child. Texas gives Streisand a chance to eat a five pound steak in order to get a free meal. Earlier on she conveniently has a purse full of coupons, including one for a rental car. Stereotypical character number one – the Jewish mother is always out to save money. As someone who actually has a Jewish mother I can assure you my step-father may disagree. Oh well, at least they cast a real Jewish mother. Stereotypical character number two – the nerdy, schlubby son. Again, if you’re going to cast a schlub you can’t go wrong with Rogen. If the script was better suited to either one’s strengths I may have laughed more.
Even at a little over an hour and a half the film feels padded but it doesn’t really get going until it’s half way through, which is a waste of Streisand, always a gifted comedienne. I hope if she makes us wait another 16 years the film is truly worth the wait!