I’m sure it sounded good in the pitch meeting: Put Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand in a car; send them across country; let the sparks fly. Rogen is always good with stream-of-consciousness humor, and Babs plays a good pain in the ass.
Problem is, director Anne Fletcher and team totally stifle Rogen in The Guilt Trip, basically making his Andrew Brewster a dull, unlikable character. As for Babs, she’s more annoying than funny this time out.
Even so, the movie isn’t all bad. The two manage a few winning moments within the tired formula. Rogen plays a scientist who has created an all-natural cleaning product that he is pitching; Babs, of course, is his mom.
After learning that he is named after his mother’s first love, Rogen’s character inexplicably cares about this, and takes his suffocating mom along for the ride, even though his entire future depends upon the trip’s outcome. She butts in during pitches and drives him crazy, although he eventually pulls it together for a highly unlikely scenario on the Home Shopping Network.
The two make the most of the material; you can have a worse time while watching a movie. I missed this one in theaters, and I am glad: If one is to watch The Guilt Trip, it’s only worthy of a rental or a cable watch. It’s one of those movies you feel you’ve seen a thousand times before.
I’m surprised Rogen was talked into this. With the exception of The Green Hornet, he’s usually good at selecting his projects and keeping them unique. This feels way too ordinary for him.
Special Features: There’s an alternate ending that isn’t much better than the lousy one in the movie. You get a bunch of short behind-the-scenes features, deleted scenes and a gag reel.