Movie Review: “The Guilt Trip” – Seth Rogen is Sarcastic

Written by Tommy January 16, 2013

First things first: I am really annoyed by Seth Rogen. I mean like, not by anything he’s done, I bet he’s a nice guy. It’s just that his face, voice, and general Seth Rogen-ness bug me on a very deep, primal level. That’s why I was so surprised that I genuinely enjoyed “The Guilt Trip.” I mean, yeah, it’s the most generic movie ever, but it’s funny-ish, sweeti-ish, and well-ish acted. There’s just something real there, you know? There’s a soul. God, I sound like an asshole. I’ll explain after this awful trailer.

I gotta stop reviewing movies for old people

Okay so Seth Rogen is a shy scientist that wants to sell some amazing product, but can’t get past the initial marketing pitch because he’s an awkward putz. Barbra Streisand is his widower mother who can’t get over a lost love from her past. Rogen decides to take her with him on a business trip, after having tracked down the man, in an attempt to help her get closure on the relationship. HIJINKS ENSUE.

I think what I like most about this movie is that it’s so focused. There are little deviations here and there, but by and large this movie doesn’t waste much time. Streisand and Rogen are the only two major characters in the movie; there are no little subplots, or really anything else going on. Some might say that makes it boring, but I think it keeps the film free from distractions. The movie says what it wants to without those elements, so they would just be dead weight. It’s also pretty funny, if only in a very safe way, and it’s mostly Rogen being sarcastic about a thing happening, but it made me smile which is difficult, seeing how I hate all fun.

Rogen also makes this face a lot.

More linear than the Superposition Principle

The other side of that however, is how stupidly predictable the plot is. Just think of the most generic, least offensive, heart warming-est ending you can imagine and you will have it about right. Hell, I am terrible at predicting movies, but this was easy to see coming. And maybe all the crappy movies I’ve seen are getting to me because I just don’t care. The story, as it is, is well told, and though it takes time to get off the ground, it never slows down or meanders once it starts. Come on, you people liked “Lincoln” and literally everyone knew how that would end.

Seth Rogen is pretty great it in this. He has a perfectly dry, deadpan delivery that makes you laugh at lines that, when you stop and think about them, weren’t really all that funny. He also manages to act like a realistic son too, balancing irritation with genuine love. Speaking of realism, I was pretty impressed with how Barbra Streisand does the whole “out of touch, overbearing mother” thing. Lots of movies usually ratchet it up way too high with a mom whose totally w-w-w-whacky! and who dances to “Gangnam Style” or something. ( That’s coming, believe me. When it happens, come back here and high five me.) Here it’s still a little over the top, but was a little creepy in how much it reminded me of my own mom, in some cases matching her line for line. Since my own mother may read this, forgive me for not going into more detail. Ooh and Brandon Keener is in this and you get to hear his sexy, sexy voice, so that’s a plus.

I guess I like Seth Rogen now

“The Guilt Trip” is absolutely nothing new, like, in any possible facet of filmmaking.  Damn it though, it’s well made. It’s not a soulless cash grab thrown together at the last minute, the people who made it cared about movies, and it shows. And in a world where almost every movie looks awful, I think that’s enough to get a recommendation from me. If your mom wants to watch it On Demand or something, go for it, you might enjoy it a little bit. Maybe.

My Rating: 6.5/10


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What a Cool Guy.

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