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REVIEW: 'The Guilt Trip' Runs Out of Gas Early On

Rogen/Streisand Chemistry More Oedipal Than Funny

By: Daniel Horowitz
Published: December 25th, 2012 in Culture » Film » Reviews
Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand in 'The Guilt Trip'

I've never understood the choices certain respected, successful, even iconic actresses make when deciding to relaunch their careers.

For example, I was shocked when it was announced that Barbara Streisand would dust off her acting chops to appear in 2004's less than stellar Meet the Fockers - hardly a comic tour de force, and far beneath Bab's talents and dignity. But, I suppose after I witnessed Bob Dylan performing at Casino Rama in northern Ontario a couple of years ago, I should have known that anything was possible.

Why, oh why, did Streisand, who has won an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and Tony Award, decide to duplicate her mistake by teaming up with Seth Rogen for the abysmal The Guilt Trip?

In what could best be described as the Freudian/Oedipal sequel to The Hangover 2, The Guilt Trip has little of the charm of my favourite road trip flicks such as Tommy Boy or Planes, Trains and Automibiles, and despite a couple of unexpected laughs, this film was ultimately betrayed by its flimsy, awkward script.

I also blame the strange chemistry garnered by the Streisand/Rogen pairing, as its doubtful that Rogen fans are Streisand fans, and visa-versa, but that's the least of this film's problems.

Andy (Seth Rogen) is a bit of a nebish with no love life to speak of, a still unproven career as an inventor who, after a fateful stop at his mother Joyce's (Streisand) house, ends up taking her on an important cross-country car trip during which he is trying to sell his eco-friendly cleaning fluid and make a name for himself.

Cue the hilarity as Joyce, playing the Jewish mother to perfection, albeit with a couple of surprising twists, including Babs wolfing down a four-pound steak at a decidedly non-kosher Texas restaurant, joins him during these stops, embarrassing her bubala to no end.

Predictable? Yes. Annoying? Insulting? A bit, sure. Recommended? No.

But, for those of us who have nothing better to do on Christmas Day, and want to kill 96 minutes by doing something other than watching It's a Wonderful Life, you might want to check it out.

Then again, if you're looking for Jewish content during Christmas, you might just want to put your feet up at home, light a nice warm fire, and put on Streisand's latest Christmas album. She's a much better singer than actress, and I don't care what the Academy says.

Related articles: Seth Rogen, The Guilt Trip, Barbra Streisand, Road Trip, Tommy Boy, Planes Trains and Automobiles, Christmas, Jewish, Hanukkah, Review
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