Released in December of 2012, The Guilt Trip is a mother-son bonding comedy-drama movie starring Barbara Streisand and Seth Rogen who also executive produced the film. Directed by Anne Fletcher from a screenplay written by Dan Fogelman the movie also sees Jeff Kober, Adam Scott, Brett Cullen, Kathy Najimy & Colin Hanks in small roles. Although I was expecting a comedy film more on the likes of what I normally see Rogen do, this isn’t a film that focuses on the humour but more on the interaction between a mother & her son. I haven’t watched Streisand in enough roles to know if this is a departure from her usual stuff too.
Seth Rogen plays Andy Brewster an inventor who is trying to get his organic cleaning product, ScioClean, in a major retail store and not having much success in doing so. After an unsuccessful effort making a sales pitch with K-Mart, he goes to visit his mother Joyce, who always calls him, several times a day, before leaving on a cross-country trip to Las Vegas. As she talks to him about his failed relationships, she finally confesses to him that she named him Andrew after the first young man, Andrew Margolis, she had fallen in love with, while in Florida. As Andrew hadn’t objected to her being courted by another man and didn’t propose to her, she accepted the marriage proposal from the man who would become her husband and Andy’s father. Seth, although initially blown away by this revelation, does a little research & finds Andrew Margolis is still alive and unmarried living in San Francisco working for the same company as when he had met Joyce. Andy invites his unknowing mother on the trip, claiming he wants to spend some time with her.
The trip is not a successful one as he gets rejected at each place that he does the sales pitch at while Joyce continues to interfere in his life. After their car breaks down in Tennessee Joyce calls Andy’s ex-girlfriend Jessica (who Joyce insists Andy should get back together with) to pick them up. At a pregnant and married Jessica’s house she reveals that Andy proposed to her before college and she turned him down, shocking Joyce, who believed Andy had trouble proposing to women. Joyce apologizes to Andy and he accepts but at the Costco meeting Joyce stays back at the table when Andy is talking with the representative and criticizes the products bottling and name along with Ryan to the point that Andy snaps at him, saying “I’m not changing the goddamn label”. Later at night Andy snaps at her when she tries talking to him as he nurses a drink and she walks off to the bar. Later Andy attempts to retrieve his mother but gets in a fight with a bar patron who attempts to stop her from leaving, receiving a black eye in the process. Things are tense between mother & son but the next day at a steak restaurant the next day the two exchange apologies and Andy reveals that he is failing at selling ScioClean. Joyce enters a steak eating challenge where she is noticed by cowboy-styled businessman Ben Graw, who gives her tips on eating and helps her finish the challenge. Ben later says that he does business in New Jersey and gives his card to Joyce, hoping to meet her for a date once she is back from the trip.
Andy and Joyce begin to genuinely enjoy each other’s company after, taking time out of their trip to visit the Grand Canyon (which Joyce has always wanted to visit) and having many other adventures. At Las Vegas Joyce has such a good time that she asks Andy to leave her while he visits San Francisco, forcing him to reveal that there is no sales pitch in San Francisco and he only invited her to get her to meet Andrew Margolis. Joyce is very distraught as she believed Andy invited her because he actually wanted to spend time with her. He goes to make his pitch at the Home Shopping Network but finds that his science-fact based pitch bores the network’s executives and makes them uninterested. When he sees Joyce, Andy remembers her suggestions and does a much better jobby appealing to the Network’s host family safety and drinking his own product, proving that it is organic and safe for children. Afterwards the Network CEO approaches him and shows genuine interest in selling ScioClean on the Network. Andy & Joyce then head to the address listed as the residence of Andrew Margolis only to meet his son, Andrew Jr and learn that the father died 5 years ago. After seeing Joyce’s grief he invites them inside, where he learns that his father and Joyce were close. She asks if Andrew’s father ever mentioned her, but he says he never did as he only confided personal information to their mother, who is away. However he then introduces his sister, who is named Joyce after Andy’s mom. Joyce is overjoyed by this as she had previously stated her belief that you name your children after someone you cherished and want to remember. Joyce is joyful that she mattered to Andrew.
At the airport in San Francisco they part ways at the San Francisco Airport; Andy to make his next sales pitch and Joyce back to New Jersey, where she arranges a date with Ben Graw. The two leave content and much closer than they had been. A sweet ending one which I liked a lot more than the rest of the movie. It was an ok film, not really that funny and parts of it lacks anything interesting. Of a $40 mil budget the movie, which got mixed reviews, only made $41 mil back. I’d give it a 7 outta 10!