The Guilt Trip

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
The Guilt Trip Movie Poster Image
Stereotypical mother-son comedy is predictably corny.
  • PG-13
  • 2012
  • 95 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 10 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The movie's ultimate message is to honor your parents and not take them for granted. The road trip proves that even when your mom drives you crazy, she's still deserving of respect and usually has your best interests at heart.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Joyce might be perceived as nagging, but she's a concerned, loving mother who just wants to help her son and spend as much time with him as possible. Andy is bothered by his mother's constant communication and interest in his everyday life, but he comes around once he's calm enough to see his mother's point of view -- and realize that she's actually got a point sometimes.


Defending his drunk mom's honor, Andy punches a cowboy suitor in the face and then gets punched in the eye in response. Joyce warns Andy not to pick up any hitchhikers, because they "rape."


Andy watches in amusement as a wealthy Texan flirts with his mother and asks whether he can take her out on a date back in New York City. Andy and Joyce discuss how she told him about sex and then what his penis looked like when he was a baby. Joyce plays audiobooks in the car that are a little sexually explicit, but Andy shuts them off once they start getting too racy. Andy and Joyce stop by a strip bar, and viewers can see women dancing in the background.


One memorable use of "f--k," plus occasional use of "holy s--t," "bulls--t," "goddamn," "oh my God," "ass," "idiotic," "stupid," "hell," "whoring," and more. A son speaks harshly to his mother in one scene, saying "just shut up, shut up, shut up." Joyce refers to one of Andy's ex-girlfriends as "Oriental," but he explains that's "not remotely an acceptable term."


Since Andy is pitching a cleaning product to various companies, viewers see the logos and facilities of various stores, including Ace Hardware, Costco, Kmart, and the Home Shopping Network. The road trip is done in a small Chevy Aveo, and they listen to the audiobook of Oprah's Book Club novel Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. Joyce has a nightly routine of eating M&Ms and is obsessed with the Gap. Andy wears a J Crew suit to his meetings.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Joyce drinks to excess in Texas and then recreationally in Las Vegas. Andy drinks in anger after a week of frustration.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Guilt Trip is a mother-son comedy that occasionally includes some mature language, humor, and themes. The strong language is occasional but does include one "f--k" and several uses of "s--t," "ass," "damn," and more. There's some mention of sexuality and dating, as well as a couple of brief instances of Joyce (Barbra Streisand) flirting on the road. Because of the nature of Andy's (Seth Rogen) job, he visits the headquarters of many real companies, including Ace Hardware, Costco, Home Shopping Network, and Kmart. In one scene, Andy gets into a brief fist fight with a man trying to give his already-drunk mom another drink. Ultimately the movie's message is that mothers and sons may not always get along, but they should love and respect each other unconditionally.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of an infant, 3, and 6-year-old Written byGambleFam May 5, 2013


Well, was a boring movie. Wasn't really as good as I thought it would be from the trailer. The scenes where the audiobook is played is a lot for younger... Continue reading
Adult Written byH2O Family January 17, 2013
Teen, 13 years old Written byHayden W. December 21, 2012


Click read my mind if it's the end of the world.
Teen, 15 years old Written byNvG Nick January 21, 2016

The Guilt Trip Review

Seth Rogen disappoints in a mild, but unfunny and flat-out boring movie. Take a pass on this trip.

What's the story?

Chemist Andy Brewster (Seth Rogen) has dumped his entire life savings into developing an all-natural cleanser he hopes to distribute in big box stores. His plan is to visit his mother, Joyce (Barbra Streisand), in New Jersey and then take a road trip to pitch his line of organic products to various companies' headquarters. After a heart-to-heart with his long-widowed mom, Andy discovers that her first love was also named Andy; a quick Google search places the man in San Francisco. Andy invites his mom to accompany him on the road trip so he can surprise her by visiting her long-lost love in California. On the cross-country trip, mother and son have several small but meaningful adventures.

Is it any good?

This is the kind of blandly entertaining comedy you might stream or catch if it's on TV while you're folding laundry, but unless you're a die-hard Babs fan, The Guilt Trip is far from a must-see. There are some occasionally amusing sequences in this formulaic comedy -- like the bizarre humor of watching Streisand scarf down a four-pound cut of beef at a Texas steak joint, just so her beloved baby boy doesn't have to pay for her entree. And every now and then Rogen's seemingly improvised asides or genuine discomfort at discussing sex with his mother also hit the mark.

But in general, the predictable nature of the plot -- a co-dependent, stereotypical Jewish mother and her reluctant mama's boy hit the road, and each finds out the other can be right some of the time -- is a lot less compelling than the ticket price would demand.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about movies featuring strong mother-and-child story lines. How is the mom in The Guilt Trip a stereotypical nagging mother? How else could the character have been portrayed?

  • What do Joyce and Andy learn about each other on their trip? How does their relationship change because of it?

  • Why do you think the filmmaker decided to include real brands in the movie instead of made-up ones? Does it add or take away from the story?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love comedies

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