“The Guilt Trip” lasts only 95 minutes, but it is so lifeless and dull that it feels like a much longer venture. In part, that’s because the project doesn’t have much of a plot, but that criticism ignores the fact that stars Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen are no fun together. Whether they lack simple chemistry or whether it’s the fault of the Dan Fogelman screenplay is up for debate. The one certainty is that the movie is a failure.
The story centers on a geeky scientist named Andy (Rogen) who invents a cleaning product that is both good and environmentally friendly. So, he plots a cross-country tour to sell his product to major retailers. Before leaving, he visits his doting mother (Streisand) who casually tells him about a passionate affair she had before meeting Andy’s late father. Intrigued, Andy does some quick detective work and learns that his mother’s former lover may still be living in California. So, he invites his mom on his trip in hopes of arranging a meeting. As the movie enters this stage, things really unravel. Presumably, director Anne Fletcher (“27 Dresses,” “The Proposal”) was attempting a road trip film with elements of “The Odd Couple.” Instead, viewers are treated to endless bickering.
Andy’s mother can’t stop giving him advice, and Andy, like many children, would prefer that she leave him alone. Because of that, their journey is filled with sparring, much of which is annoying enough to leave viewers irritated by both major characters.
Watching someone drive across the country and peddle soap isn’t exactly exciting, and things liven up only marginally when Andy and his mother fight. Sadly, that’s about all “The Guilt Trip” has to offer. Of course, there’s a climax of sorts, and Andy and his mom come to understand each other. Revealing this doesn’t give anything away because it’s a given, and anyone who picks up the DVD or Blu-ray will be aware of that.
The DVD release has no extras, but the Blu-ray comes with several making-of features, deleted scenes and a gag reel.