Directed by Anne Fletcher
Even if director Anne Fletcher’s “The Guilt Trip” relies almost solely on overprotective Jewish mom jokes, it still finds a way to not suck entirely. Barbra Streisand plays Joyce, the chatty mom I’m talking about. When her son Andy, played by Seth Rogen, pays her a visit on his way to a series of company meetings across the country, Streisand overplays the mom bit. She’s a walking stereotype. Oy vey! Joyce and Andy typify every nagging mother/embarrassed son relationship ever, but somehow it sort of works. But when Andy leaves for his trip, he feels pressured into asking his mother to tag along. She complains about not getting to see him often, so he feels obligated. Hilarity ensues? Not quite, but it’s okay.
Streisand, as she did in “Meet the Fockers” almost ten years ago, makes us chuckle at her absurd, over-the-top caricature of a mom. It’s so silly it’s sometimes funny. Rogen takes the low road in this one, giving up the funniest role. But he’s by no means unfunny. In this outrageous comedy, it’s all about the situations these two get themselves into. Screenwriter Dan Fogelman (2013’s “Last Vegas”) gives us a series of unfortunate (and some very fortunate) events to string this comedy along. It’s a “Due Date”/”Hangover” mash-up with fewer laughs, but it makes up for it in charm and a happy ending that’s just cheesy enough to leave a big toothy grin on your face. It might be predictable, but no more than most comedies Hollywood spews out every other Friday. It we’re comparing it on a level playing field, it’s actually not too bad.
While it’s not perfect, “The Guilt Trip” offers enough to give you a few good laughs and a satisfying feeling in your stomach. I can get behind that.