The Guilt Trip is Anne Fletcher’s fourth film as a director. Step Up, 27 Dresses, and The Proposal were the previous movies. This is easily her worst; none of her efforts have translated into anything too good. She has a certain style in her movies that is alright, but should have been built on by now instead of staying the same, and might even be slowly declining. The Proposal had potential, but was bland and nothing special in the least; same can be said for 27 Dresses. Above all the countless flaws, you get the feeling of a lazy effort. Now, I don’t know what went on in the making. Still, everything feels half finished, and then roughly put together. Dumb fun can work, and has worked before. Here, though, it also tried to inject heart. Fletcher has never really done well in that department. This equals overly sappy moments, with jokes that rarely get a chuckle. I felt like Rogen did on the poster – not a pleasant ride.
Andy Brewster (Seth Rogen) is a chemist, and he has thrown his entire live savings into making an all-natural cleanser that he hopes to distribute in major stores. Andy plans to visit his mother, Joyce (Barbra Streisand), who lives in New Jersey, and take her on a road trip to pitch his line of organic products to various companies’ headquarters. Before they leave, Andy has a talk with his mom, and discovers that her first love was named Andy. By use of Google, Andy finds out the other Andy lives in San Francisco. So, they both depart. Andy plans to surprise her mother by visiting her long lost love.
Dan Fogelman wrote the screenplay. He has done some things in the past that were good, verging on great. Fogelman wrote Tangled, Crazy, Stupid, Love, co-wrote Cars, and Bolt. He also co-wrote Fred Claus. So, before this he only had one small miss. I don’t like to question effort on anybody that I don’t know well. But, I do wonder how much he cared to write this. Seeing what he has done in the past, The Guilt Trip can’t come in the same solar system when you get down to comparing – just wouldn’t be fair. All of the jokes fall flat, save for one or two that could only bring a small chuckle or a “mind laugh.” The story itself is simple (which isn’t bad), but the problem is nothing is added to make the story interesting at all.
I’ve never particularly liked Seth Rogen, but on the other hand, I’ve never particularly hated him either. Always been in the middle with him. Many instances he comes off as annoying and unfunny to me. However, he’ll come out with a surprise here and there. 50/50, Knocked Up, and Funny People are his three best roles. When I think about it, though, there isn’t a major difference between some of his other performances. Overall, I believe Rogen has potential to be funny. That potential can only be reached by mixing in a good screenplay. Unfortunately, 2012 remains pretty bad with The Guilt Trip. I won’t go as far to say he’s bad. In the end, the role was bland and could have been played by anyone. So, Rogen didn’t add nor take anything away from the movie. A funnier actor might wouldn’t have fixed much, but helped out a bit. I must admit, one instance got a big chuckle out of me.
The rest of the performances range from non-factors to awful. Barbra Streisand has a likeable appeal at times. It can’t, though, benefit the movie in anyway because of everything else weighing it down. Just like Rogen as well, the script doesn’t help in the least. Colin Hanks, Kathy Najimy, Brett Cullen, and the rest of the supporting cast are wooden throughout. Might not all be there fault, but still. I was sad to see Adam Scott pop up. Scott is someone who I have found to be funny in a compressed kind of way even with a small role or average script. Here, he is wasted. Scott was the main guy in Friends with Kids for those who do not know.
When I’m going into a comedy that I already know is looking to be a simple entertaining little comedy, my mind judges it on a different scale. I’ve used this analogy in the past. Would you compare Taken 2 to The Grey? I know I would not. The movie was about to begin, and all I was going to see if a good time came with some laughs. The Guilt Trip is one of the worst movies of 2012; comedy wise, it is the worst. You don’t get any laughs and the story is awkward. That translates on to you, and you feel uncomfortable watching for some strange reason. Don’t feel guilty if you skip this ride – you should.