The Guilt Trip

Year: 2012
Studio: Paramount
Director: Anne Fletcher
Writer: Dan Fogelman
Cast: Seth Rogen, Barbra Streisand

Every aspect of the premise gave this film plenty of rope to hang itself with – from dysfunctional families to the common stereotypes of Jewish family relationships to the great American road trip to the odd couple premise of characters driving each other crazy until they realise how much they really love each other.

Thanks to earnest chemistry between Rogen as Andrew and Streisand as his overbearing mother Joyce and a general middle-of-the-road approach with the comedy and the drama it works, never going off course but not taking too many narrative risks either.

Crossing the country to try and sell his terribly-named cleaning product to mass market retailers, Andrew asks his mother to come along after she goes to work on him about how little time he spends with her.

Of course, everything you expect will happen does. Because she still treats him like a 12 year old you know she's going to embarrass him in some meeting or other which he doesn't have the time to kick her out of, for example.

The pair lurch from one set piece to another, including Andrew's many disastrous meetings to a bizarre aside of Joyce eating a giant steak in a Texan diner, and you're waiting for him to get frustrated enough at his continued failure to take it out on his mother, followed by the inevitable dark time and reconciliation.

It's sweet and cute but light fluff for the leads and their respective talents. They must have both had house extensions to pay off.

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