The road trip film is a sub-genre that has been gestating for some time. It’s basically been around since the 60’s. Classics include “Easy Rider”, “Smokey and the Bandit”, “National Lampoon’s Vacation”, “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” and “Thelma & Louise”. The more classic ones have been riotous comedies. “The Guilt Trip” is one of those road movies that was half-baked in an Easy Bake oven.

Seth Rogen stars as Andy Brewster, an organic household cleanser inventor who is going to drive across country pitching his product to prospective clients. In a moment of weakness, Andy asks his over-bearing mother, Joyce (Barbra Striesand) to come along.

While watching this film I had to wonder who’s idea was it to team Barbra Striesand and Seth Rogen together? The movie produced by the two of them and Rogen’s shadow Evan Goldberg is involved too. But neither of them were involved in the script or the directing. In fact, the movie is written by hot writer Dan Fogelman, creator of TV’s underrated “The Neighbors” and wrote such hit films as “Tangled” and “Crazy Stupid Love”. The movie is directed by Anne Fletcher who has a string of hit films as well with “Step Up”, “The Proposal” and “27 Dresses”.

So where did this idea come from? Fletcher wanted to work with Streisand so much she bugged the Hollywood legend for over a year for her to do the film. Streisand has only been on screen twice (two Focker movies) in sixteen years and her last headlining movie was 1996’s “The Mirror Has Two Faces”, which she also directed. Streisand turned 70 in April and has stepped out of the limelight so it did take some convincing.

The role of Joyce Brewster seems to have been tailor-made for the actress. It was really great to see Streisand come back and not forget that comedic timing. Rogen was actually her straight-man in this film. The two of them do have really good chemistry.

Fogelman’s script could have used some more laughs. The movie treads water mainly on the chemistry of the two stars not on what joke is coming next. In some respect I see this movie as a John Hughes type movie without that real belly-achingly hilarious scene.

There are lots of situations that are very memorable between a mother and son. In fact, I took my mom to this film and she loved it. I almost think that it should have been released Mother’s Day because it is the perfect movie to take mom to. Thanks mom!

2.5 out of 5

So Says the Soothsayer

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