Thursday, January 3, 2013

"Guilt Trip" with Barbara Streisand and Seth Rogen (2012)

This was a wonderful film to end the year with. Sue and saw it on December 28th. It’s also a great movie with which to start a new year; because that’s what this film is all about; endings and beginnings; in that order. To start over requires having closure with the past, and that is exactly what Joyce Brewster, played by Ms. Streisand, and her 33 year old son Andy, played by Seth Rogen, discover when they decide to go on a road trip together from New York to San Francisco, promoting Andy’s new cleaning product.

Joyce is the quintessential Jewish mother, worried that she has not been the mother she should have been; while at the same time being way too obsessed with her son’s lack of a relationship, while she herself has not been on a date in 25 years, since her husband passed away when Andy was only 8 years old.

Andy is usually annoyed with his mother, and during an infrequent visit to see her in New York, she relates the story of the man she was once in love with, years before Andy was born. She even remembers his name, as well as the name of the advertising firm with which he was connected. She also confides in him that he was named for this man, without the knowledge of his late father. Obviously, the torch still burns for what might have been.
Armed with that information, and his laptop, Andy locates the firm and the man. Then he invites his mother to accompany him on his journey promoting his cleaning product. He mentions nothing of the man he was named for, or his intentions to get them together. Since his mother has always inserted herself into his personal life; without invitation; he feels like this is a kind of  justified “payback.”

But, prior to going to San Francisco, his is mother insists on his stopping to see his old girlfriend in order to find out why that relationship; from 15 years earlier; did not work. The big secret that Andy has been carrying around all these years is that she didn’t break up with him; as his mother believes; but rather that he split from her when she said no to his proposal of marriage. She wanted to wait- he didn’t. Inadvertently, once again, Joyce has humiliated her son.
Along the way the Joyce and Andy visit a roadside steak house, with it’s offer of a  50 oz. steak and meal for free; if you can eat it, or pay $100 dollars; Joyce meets a man. With a few more adventures thrown in, they finally arrive in San Francisco to meet her old flame.

The only problem is that the elder "Andy" has passed on. What happens next changes Joyce; and coupled with the changes in her son, Andy, that have taken place during the road trip; they are able to come to terms with their own pasts; which in turn releases them both to pursue their individual destinies.
A wonderfully written  script, directed by Anne Fletcher, this movie sparkles and shines as it weaves its way into your heart. This is a film which may have you tear up a bit at the end, as you realize that sometimes, it takes a huge step backward to begin moving forward again. This film is a real triumph for Ms. Streisand, as well as a real treat for her fans. Try not to miss it.

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