‘The Guilt Trip'
Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen make a convincing and charming mother-son duo in the warmly funny road comedy “The Guilt Trip.”
Screenwriter Dan Fogelman (“Crazy, Stupid, Love”) based the script on a real-life cross-country trip he took with his mother, which gives the film a cozy veracity. Director Anne Fletcher (“The Proposal”) clearly understands she has two seasoned comedic actors behind the wheel, and she fuels the film with their easy, authentic chemistry.
Still, Fogelman's story steers “The Guilt Trip” firmly into Streisand's demographic; the film only occasionally sideswipes the kind of raunchy hilarity Rogen made his name with in “Knocked Up.”
Rogen plays Andrew Brewster, a Los Angeles-based organic chemist who has developed a safe new food-based cleaning solution. His product may be revolutionary, but he hasn't been able to peddle it to a single company because his strictly science sales pitches put the suits to sleep. Since he's out of money and can't afford to fly, Andy plans a cross-country trek to hit several potential retailers.
First, he dutifully visits his loving, long-widowed mother Joyce back home in New Jersey. Streisand could play this doting, overbearing and oversharing Jewish matriarch in her sleep.
When his mom reveals that she named Andy after the love of her life — the boy she dated before she married his father — the scientist is curious enough to look up her old flame online and discover her former beau lives in San Francisco. Eager to alleviate his mom's loneliness — and assuage his guilt over moving across the country — Andy invites her to join him on his road trip. The movie cruises through typical car comedy gags; fortunately, it also travels deeper into relatable relationship-driven humor.
— Brandy McDonnell