A comedy to make YOU feel guilty.
The Guilt Trip
Director: Anne Fletcher (The Proposal)
Screenplay: Dan Fogelman (Cars)
Cast: Barbra Streisand (Little Fockers), Seth Rogen (50/50)
Runtime: 95 min.
by John DeSando
"You want to drive cross-country in a car with me?" Joyce Brewster (Barbra Streisand)
Trust me –you don’t want to take this trip. The problem with The Guilt Trip is that most of the lame comedy takes place in a subcompact car with two not very interesting characters, a Jewish mother, Joyce (Streisand), and her son, Andrew (Seth Rogen). You will want to get out as soon as you can, and you will feel guilt for wasting 95 minutes.
Not that more of that clichéd Jewish guilt wouldn’t have been welcomed after the first act’s slow setup (Andy asking mom to join him on a trip out West). Not even those stops along the way would relieve your boredom, given the pedestrian set pieces in a strip bar, a steak house, and a casino, among other seemingly random choices except that inventor Andrew visits those cities to hawk his edible cleaning product.
You can amuse yourself by counting the number of product placements (“They know me at The Gap!”), some from K Mart, Costco, Budget Rental Cars, and other businesses. For those companies, their products come off very well from Andrew’s tepid pitch. Only when he finds his selling voice, does the film come alive and Rogen awakens from a sleepy first hour for him.
Making comedies is a Las Vegas gamble: Witness the uneven but far more amusing This is 40, a Judd Apatow production that at least tries to be witty about social issues for aging youngsters. The Guilt Trip tries one bit—the overbearing Jewish mother and wimpy son—and doesn’t get it right (Whatever happened to that Oriental girl?”). Now I’m feeling guilty.
John DeSando co-hosts WCBE 90.5’s It’s Movie Time and Cinema Classics, which can be heard streaming and on-demand at WCBE.org.
He also appears on Fox 28’s Man Panel
Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.rr.com