A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?
- In theaters: December 19, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: April 30, 2013
- Cast: Barbra Streisand, Seth Rogen, Yvonne Strahovski
- Director: Anne Fletcher
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 95 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: language and some risque material
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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