The Guilt Trip succeeds as a funny, feel-good comedy

Jen Butler

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Bogged down by the work accumulating in all of your classes? Feeling blue about the long, cold, winter days ahead? Looking for a way to escape your worries and to laugh until your stomach hurts? If so, then grab a friend and head to a movie theater to see “The Guilt Trip” starring funnyman Seth Rogan and the witty Barbara Streisand.

“The Guilt Trip” chronicles the life of Andy Brewster (Rogan), an independent salesman, who is struggling to make ends meet selling his environmentally friendly cleaning product. Andy’s initial plan to travel across the U.S. alone selling his cleaning products is quickly foiled after a visit to his mother, Joyce (Streisand), who guilt trips Andy and squeezes an invitation from him to join the road trip.

As anyone can imagine, driving cross-country with one’s mother is no easy task. Andy finds himself regretting his decision to invite his mother almost immediately after the trip begins. Andy and Joyce find themselves in some hilariously awkward situations throughout the course of their trip. Naturally they get on each other’s nerves along the way, but the trip also successfully brings them closer together.

The film is by no means the best in theaters, and Streisand’s and Rogan’s acting is far from Oscar worthy, but it has the ability to be entertaining for the entire hour and a half in the movie theater.

Streisand’s portrayal of Joyce’s overbearing nature and extreme financial frugality are so strikingly real that it is sure to remind viewers of their own relatives once in a while, and Rogan’s chemistry with Streisand seemed very natural.  The movie’s plot, albeit a bit predictable at times, is enjoyable to watch and convincingly heartfelt.

Surprisingly, the film is devoid of the raunchy comedy that characterizes most films of the same genre today, such as “The Hangover” and “Knocked Up.” As a result, The Guilt Trip is much more family-friendly than most other recent comedies.  Those who enjoy films with some rough humor but without vulgarity would appreciate the film.

The Guilt Trip only scored a 5.2 on Rotten Tomatoes, but Hollywood.com rated the film three-and-a-half out of five stars and gave it a generally positive review.

Boston Globe writer Ty Burr writes, “The movie is silly, predictable, and surprisingly sweet… The Guilt Trip is tripe, but it’s tripe that knows its audience.” Additionally, movie critic Jenni Miller notes, “Streisand and Rogan’s chemistry keeps The Guilt Trip going… the smaller moments are what sing, even if they’re a little sappy.”

Even though the film did not receive the stellar reviews and Oscar nods that it was perhaps hoping for, it is worth the time if one is in search of a light, feel-good comedy. You might find yourself unexpectedly touched by the ending.