What happened to The Guilt Trip, the Seth Rogen-Barbra Streisand relationship comedy that opened nine days ago and has…what, fizzled? It was killed by 64% of the Rotten Tomatoes critics and has only made a lousy $14.5 million since opening nine days ago so I guess you can call it a bit of a wipe-out. Okay, a shortfaller. It’ll probably end up with…what, $25 million? It cost $40 million to produce plus distribution and marketing costs.
Nobody wants to watch a dramedy about a Jewish mom badgering her emotionally aloof son, right? Looked a little sleepy? Not funny or novel enough? Streisand used to be a draw, but she’s been out of the leading-lady game since the mid ’90s. I think it’s telling that I forgot to run a Guilt Trip review when the embargo broke. I was okay with it. I just forgot. Okay, I couldn’t muster the energy to write it. I guess that’s why it died. Nobody cared that much.
Pic was exec produced by Rogen and Streisand, directed by Anne Fletcher (The Proposal) and written by Dan Fogelman.
It’s basically a Jewish mother-and-son car trip movie. Rogen plays an inventor, Andy Brewster, who’s trying to sell a natural-elements cleaner to the big chains without much success. When he discovers that the beloved ex-boyfriend of his widowed mom, Joyce (Streisand), is living and working in San Francisco, he invites her to join him on a cross-country trip as he tries to sell his cleaner (which has a really hard-to-remember name that kinda sounds like Science Cleaner but is actually Scioclean or something like that) so they can wind up in San Fran and reunited with the old boyfriend.
And yet the way Joyce nags and nudges pisses Andy off and puts him in a bad mood half the time. The film has a nice ending, though — I’ll give it that. Adult chuckles, low-key tone, character-driven, no vulgarity, not classic or landmark but likable and moderately entertaining and occasionally heartfelt.
I was grateful for Rogen’s low-key personality, although he plays it a little too somber and dour here and there. I was grateful that it didn’t go all crude and sloppy in search of lowest-common-denominator animal laughs.
I saw The Guilt Trip 27 days ago at a special invitational screening in Century City that Rogen and Streisand attended.