Guilt Trip Poster

Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen…like buttah.

I finally got around to seeing some movies that were in the mental queue. Between what’s in my head at any given moment, plus the Netflix que (where I invariably forget what I listed so that when the next DVD shows up – and its a movie, not the next disc from The Wire Season 5 or Justified Season 1 – I usually wonder out loud, “Huh…why did I want to see this?”) the list remains long. Here’s one movieI can now remove from the list:

Guilt Trip stars Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen as a mother and son who take a long road trip together, and hilarity, familiar punchlines, set-ups and yes, guilt, ensue. That was probably an easy take on the pitch meeting for this movie and for me it instantly felt familiar.

Barbra Streisand often gets the eye roll from folks who forget that she can actually act. And its been easy to forget that she can, what with the recent Focker movies. So it was a nice surprise to see her play an understated version of a character she surely didn’t have to research much, the endearing, yet overbearing Jewish mother. If you’ve steered away from this movie because you thought it was a.) predictable and b.) you’ve seen enough stereotypical versions of the Jewish mother – which Mrs. Focker was, and annoyingly so, that’s understood. In fact, the opening 10 minutes made me wonder if that’s where the movie was going. So that’s partly what made this movie so enjoyable – Streisand isn’t over the top at all and plays Joyce Brewster with just enough humor and humility that you realize after about 5 minutes you’re interested in who the character is. Yes, its all mostly predictable, but its mostly funny and endearing, too.

Seth Rogen also made this movie enjoyable and the chemistry he has with Streisand is evident. Rogen has played a variation of Andy Brewster in almost every movie – aloof, smart, funny, etc. – and in this case add put-upon, by his overbearing mom. From the start, he’s got good intentions in planning the road trip with mom, and they both learn a lot about each other.

As mentioned, there’s a chemistry between Rogen and Streisand; the verbal jousting can be flat out hysterical (stick around for more examples during the credits). Amidst all the holiday blockbusters that you might still be trying to see this is worth adding – or keeping – on your list.

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