If only this interminable road trip would have just covered the state of New Jersey instead of an eight day jaunt from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean; tedium reigns, with intermittent levity. A mother/son “Joyce” and “Andy” (Barbra Streisand/Seth Rogen) bond over predictable quips and tons of shtick; weary of the overbearing stereotype of the smothering “Jewish Mother” and the smothered, pampered boy (who is approaching forty); Jewish mothers do not have a monopoly on suffocation of their progeny. Avoiding blatant heavy-handedness, religion is never addressed in “The Guilt Trip”.
Streisand and Rogen, also producers, have chemistry and save the scenario from topping (or toppling) the saccharine scale; their histrionics realistic, salvaging, placating their emotional commitment.
Andy a chemical engineer has invested his life savings in a cleaning solution, so pure, it is drinkable; his frigid, droning, excessively obtuse presentations generate sparse, tepid laughter; Joyce stimulates minimal empathy in desperately trying to have fun and inspire greater confidence in her beloved son. The last thirty percent of the film rescues the tiresome, boring (enough to induce car-sickness) former seventy percent.
Why does a mother/son road excursion have to be a “Guilt Trip” instead of a “Joy Ride”?
TWO & 1/2 STARS!!