Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Movies

Review: With smart casting of Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand, 'The Guilt Trip' is a smooth ride

Meet the parent: Joyce Brewster thriftily fills spring water bottles with tap water, she's obsessed with the Gap and she incessantly calls her son, Andy, who lives 3,000 miles away in California — presumably to escape his mother's grasp.

A sweet, easygoing comedy with more natural charm than gut-busting laughs, The Guilt Trip surpasses its sitcom premise with clever casting: Barbra Streisand as overbearing chatterbox Joyce and Seth Rogen as her only child, an organic scientist determined to sell his newly invented cleaning product Scieoclean to a mega-store like Costco.

The Guilt Trip may not have you howling like Rogen's other famous flicks, but its restraint is its strength. It never gets too silly. So often, comedy writers feel the need to throw in a few wacky scenes, but this stays true and realistic and it's still entertaining.

Rogen trades his bong for a much more chaste, innocent, cuddly role. As proven in Take This Waltz, the 2011 movie in which he plays a husband whose marriage is tanking, and now in The Guilt Trip, Rogen isn't just a one-trick pot-smoking pony.

But the real star here is Streisand, who, at 70, looks better than all of the Kardashians. Babs, mom to one son in real life, plays Joyce naturally: She's overwhelming, yes, but lovingly so. When Joyce tells Andy she's afraid his sexual inability may have ended his last relationship, she does it because she doesn't want him to die alone, drawing parallels to her own celibate life.

The movie takes off when, wanting his mother to see life beyond Weight Watchers meetings and coupon clipping, Andy invites her on an eight-day road trip from New York to San Francisco. The antics begin when Andy wants to rent a very large SUV for their trip, but Joyce insists that — with a 15 percent off coupon she has — a tiny Chevy Aveo is the cheaper option. As always, Mom wins.

Dan Fogelman, the man behind Crazy, Stupid, Love and Disney films like Cars and Tangled, wrote the script in memory of his mother, Joyce Fogelman, and he truly understands the mother-son dynamic. The Guilt Trip is full of funny asides between the duo, some so slight you might miss them if you're munching your popcorn too loudly.

"I bought you some underwear at the Gap."

"Uh ... that's pretty gross."

Streisand and Rogen have undeniable chemistry. Every time she uncorks another annoying remark, Rogen responds by pursing his lips and wincing, to prevent himself from unloading on her. (Let's be honest: We all do the lip purse when we're with our mothers, because it's just not worth the fight.) But somewhere along the route, after things really start to tick Andy off, including the fact that no one wants to buy Scieoclean, he finally snaps in their motel room after a couple of shots of Jim Beam.

"You're going to dehydrate," Joyce nags, nags, nags.

"JUST. SHUT. UP."

"You little [bleep]," she says, like a wounded bird, and storms away. He immediately regrets it, which creates a turn in the plot that shows up at the end of the movie.

After Joyce eats a 4-pound steak just to get it for free and Andy scores an offer from HSN, they finally make it to San Francisco, where a surprise from Andy to Mom awaits. It's a nice payoff for their mother-son bond, and an especially moving moment for Joyce.

This movie was made for older sons and their even older mothers. With the smart casting of Rogen and Streisand, there's something here for everyone.

Sabrina Rocco can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8862.

Comments
Cress Williams of ‘Black Lightning’ talks Season 2, being recognized as a superhero before MegaCon Orlando

Cress Williams of ‘Black Lightning’ talks Season 2, being recognized as a superhero before MegaCon Orlando

No matter what Cress Williams does the rest of his acting career, he’ll always be remembered as the first to play Black Lightning.The 47-year-old actor with roles on ER, Grey’s Anatomy and Friday Night Lights is now that face of a DC comics franchise...
Published: 05/22/18
The young Han Solo movie is here. And let’s just say a robot is the best part.

The young Han Solo movie is here. And let’s just say a robot is the best part.

Washington PostSolo: A Star Wars Story begins with the Star Wars franchise’s signature tag line, "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away." But it seems like only yesterday that the title character met his end in The Force Awakens, the first insta...
Published: 05/21/18
What’s in theaters: ‘Deadpool 2,’ ‘Book Club,’ a Pope Francis documentary and STEM movies

What’s in theaters: ‘Deadpool 2,’ ‘Book Club,’ a Pope Francis documentary and STEM movies

CinemaSTEM: Best in ShowTampa Theatre is making science, technology, engineering and math the star of its new CinemaSTEM movie series. The historic movie house will pair popular films with experts talking about some of the science that pops up in the...
Published: 05/16/18
‘Deadpool 2’ cracks jokes at the expense of nearly every intellectual property in the DC and Marvel universes

‘Deadpool 2’ cracks jokes at the expense of nearly every intellectual property in the DC and Marvel universes

When Deadpool referred to Cable as "Thanos," the guy sitting next to me lost it. Because, you know, Thanos is the name of the villain in Avengers: Infinity War who is played by Josh Brolin, who also plays Cable, who is mostly the villain in Deadpool ...
Published: 05/15/18
Updated: 05/17/18
A Plant City movie to make history by becoming first released on a blockchain

A Plant City movie to make history by becoming first released on a blockchain

When making his latest feature film, director and producer Jeremy Culver went old school in this digital age, shooting No Postage Necessary on 35-millimeter. But when it came to distributing the movie to the masses, Culver went new school. Sonew sch...
Published: 05/11/18
11 royal films to watch before Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s big day

11 royal films to watch before Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s big day

It’s safe to say Meghan Markle took the road less traveled on her way to becoming British royalty. For starters, she’s American (an Angeleno, to be specific). Second, she’s an actress (not exactly a noble profession, no offense Hollywood). And last b...
Published: 05/10/18
What’s in theaters this weekend: ‘RBG,’ ‘Life of the Party,’ ‘Breaking In’

What’s in theaters this weekend: ‘RBG,’ ‘Life of the Party,’ ‘Breaking In’

INDIE FLICKS: RBGThe notion of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the diminutive and soft-spoken Supreme Court justice, as a judicial "rock star" — at least in the eyes of progressives who love her sharply worded dissents to opinions rendered by the increasingly c...
Published: 05/09/18
Sing along to ‘The Little Mermaid’ and catch Telluride’s Mountainfilm Festival in St. Pete Beach

Sing along to ‘The Little Mermaid’ and catch Telluride’s Mountainfilm Festival in St. Pete Beach

FILM FEST: Telluride’s Mountainfilm Festival on TourA roving iteration of the famous short-film showcase in Telluride, Colo., the Mountainfilm Festival on Tour makes a stop at the Don CeSar Hotel this weekend. The intent of the tour is to help spread...
Updated one month ago
May the Fourth be with you: 8 places to celebrate Star Wars Day in Tampa Bay

May the Fourth be with you: 8 places to celebrate Star Wars Day in Tampa Bay

It started as a joke among Star Wars fans who would greet each other with the calendar pun, "May the Fourth be with you." But now Star Wars Day has morphed into a full-fledged holiday that falls on a Friday this year. And some Jedi masters are throwi...
Updated one month ago
Let’s talk about the shocking ending of ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

Let’s talk about the shocking ending of ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

Note: Of all the spoilers regarding "Avengers: Infinity War," this is the big one. If you haven’t seen it, don’t read this. You’ve been warned.Thanos won.Of all the shocking twists and surprises offered in "Avengers: Infinity War," the Mad Titan sitt...
Updated one month ago