The best thing I can say about The Guilt Trip is that it's not nearly as bad as the trailers make it out to be. For all the annoyingly overdone shtick and the repetitiveness of this mother-and-son road-trip comedy, there are a few moments that shine through as worthy of a chuckle or two. Granted, those moments are rare; I can honestly say I laughed twice but did smile through half a dozen scenes in The Guilt Trip. Unfortunately after delivering a fairly cute first act, the remaining portion hits the skids, tripping over jokes best left to better comedies from decades past.
Seth Rogen plays straight-man to Barbra Streisand who returns for what's become a rare occurrence as the central character in a comedy. Why Streisand thought this was the right vehicle to jump in the driver's set and make one of her rare starring appearances we'll never really know ... perhaps the jokes looked better on paper. Whatever the reasoning behind signing up, Streisand fans probably won't be adding The Guilt Trip to their lists of favorite Babs films. She's fine, but the material lets her down. Same can be said for Rogen who actually seems to be getting the short end of the stick here playing a Gloomy Gus character who's utterly charmless.
The plot finds the two setting out on a road-trip, with Rogen's character, Andy, attempting to talk major store chains into carrying his organic cleaner. Andy has an ulterior motive for bringing his mom along, one of which Joyce (Streisand) is completely unaware of. Having just informed her son that he's named after her first love, Andy finds the guy's info on the internet - and it just so happens he's a bigwig in an advertising firm based in San Francisco. So even though he can't stand spending more than a couple of holidays a year with his overbearing mom who never stops talking, he invites her on this sales trip with the final destination a secret stop in San Francisco.
Actually, the reason behind the trip doesn't make a lick of sense. But if the comedy works, then it wouldn't matter, would it? Unfortunately, Rogen's lifeless character and Streisand as a smothering Jewish mom can only yield so many jokes before it feels like the film's stuck in repeat mode.
Ultimately, The Guilt Trip is not horrible - and it's not a bad movie that you'll get a guilty pleasure out of watching - it's just not anything worth taking a trip to a theater to see.
The Guilt Trip was directed by Anne Fletcher and is rated PG-13 for language and some risque material.