‘Guilt Trip’ tolerable at best

Paramount Pictures photo by SAM EMERSONSeth Rogen, left, Pedro Lopez and Barbra Streisand star in The Guilt Trip, which continues its run in theaters after opening Dec. 19. Show caption
Paramount Pictures photo by SAM EMERSONSeth Rogen, left, Pedro Lopez and Barbra Streisand star in The Guilt Trip, which continues its run in theaters after opening Dec. 19.

Reviewer’s Rating: ★★1/2

What’s better than a crazy, adventurous road trip across the country? The answer is certainly not a cross-country road trip with an over-protective, menopausal mother. In “The Guilt Trip,” a slightly quirky comedy about the odd, yet endearing, relationships between mothers and sons, a simple business road trip becomes obnoxious and stressful.

Barbra Streisand plays Joyce Brewster, a middle-aged, single mom who wants nothing more than happiness for her son. Her overbearing ways include digging into his past romances and trying to save him money in any way possible.

Andy Brewster, played by the always hilarious Seth Rogan, wants nothing to do with his mother’s wise -- sometimes strange -- advice. However, the guilt of his mother’s loneliness gets to him, and he offers her a chance to accompany him on his road trip, which involves stopping at various large corporations to attempt to sell his invention. Joyce graciously accepts, unaware of Andy’s hidden agenda that will bring her back to her past lover, who she still loves.

Although most viewers won’t appreciate or even comprehend most of the intended comical scenes, mothers as well as children with this type of mother will completely understand why this story is necessary to tell.

Streisand does an acceptable interpretation of the mother role, as she tries licking her finger and fixing her son’s hair, which is a common mom-move. Her character also encompasses the guilt and the need for her child’s acceptance that all mothers seem to experience. However, she also shows her tough-loving, “respect me” attitude that moms possess.

Rogan has a remarkable way of being funny no matter what he’s doing. If anything was great in the film, it was his acting. His facial expressions and body language can tell a story without words. When the words do come, he knows exactly which tone to bring to the table, and it always has a comical effect on the audience.

There were many points throughout the movie that made the audience laugh out loud, and there were other instances where everyone chuckled, mostly due to Rogan’s amusing antics. For this reason, “The Guilt Trip” definitely accomplished a comedic response from the viewers.

However, the story line wasn’t perfectly put together, and there were some scenes that had awkward silences, which is something one would expect from a live production, but not a filmed movie. The characters weren’t developed completely, but it almost made sense because the road trip was a chance for Joyce and Andy to get to know each other as adults.

Overall, the film is funny, and it has some extremely endearing points, especially for mothers, but it wasn’t the best film made in this particular genre. At times, it became tolerable at best.