Streisand, Ro­gen de­liver few laughs

Mother-son road trip com­edy ex­ceeds low ex­pec­ta­tions of view­ers.

Austin American-Statesman - - FOOD & LIFE - STATES­MAN From wire ser­vices

For their lat­est comic trick, Bar­bra Streisand and Seth Ro­gen go for some­thing that nei­ther has been known for over the course of their re­spec­tive ca­reers — cute. With “Guilt Trip,” they’ve made a hol­i­day com­edy safer for Streisand’s au­di­ence than for Ro­gen’s, a mild-man­nered movie you won’t be em­bar­rassed to take your mom to. Well, not too em­bar­rassed. Ro­gen is Andy, an or­ganic chemist who left his job with the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency to try and sell his en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly cleaner, “Scieo­clean,” to Kmart, Costco, Ace Hard­ware or who­ever will have it. He’s strug­gling.

But to Joyce (Streisand), he is still “my per­fect boy,” the ap­ple of Mom’s New Jersey eye. Andy wor­ries about his mom, won­ders why she doesn’t date. Mom won­ders

why Andy isn’t mar­ried.

“I’ve been to the dance, and now I’m tired,” the wid­owed Joyce tells him. “You’re skip­ping the dance al­to­gether.”

A lit­tle rev­e­la­tion by her on a visit home gives Andy the idea to drag her along on a road trip, from New Jersey to San Fran­cisco. Eight days in a car. Eight days in, thanks to Joyce’s fru­gal­ity, a tiny Chevy Aveo, mak­ing stops in Vir­ginia, Ten­nessee, Texas, New Mex­ico, Ne­vada and end­ing in San Fran­cisco.

It’s a sit­u­a­tion fraught with peril and preg­nant with prom­ise. Hear mom ques­tion Andy about “your prob­lem with women.” Meet Andy’s ex­girl­friend in Nashville. Seek road­side as­sis­tance at a Deep South strip club (run by the for­mi­da­ble Dale Dickey of “Win­ter’s Bone”).

See Andy fail, time and again, at his meet­ings with re­tail­ers. Watch him ig­nore Mom’s al­wayssound ad­vice. Hear her put a stop to his swear­ing. (“Enough with the lan­guage.”)

Streisand’s au­di­ence de­mands so lit­tle from her th­ese days, and this Dan Fo­gel­man (“Cars,” “Fred Claus,” “Crazy, Stupid, Love”) script de­mands even less. See Joyce in her ac­tive, over-sched­uled life with her New Jersey cof­fee klatsch (in­clud­ing Kathy Na­jimy and Miriam Mar­goyles). Study her rou­tine — doz­ing off as she watches TV and eats M&Ms in bed. Watch Joyce dive into one of those steak­houses where the meal’s free if you can fin­ish a side of beef in an hour.

Even the broader mo­ments have a muted, re­spect­ful com­edy. Streisand is far more out-there and fun on those “Meet the Par­ents” movies. “Guilt Trip” is a com­edy of gen­tle laughs and light mo­ments, with both

DEB­O­RAH CAN­NON/AMER­I­CAN-

A pork roast with pota­toes is a great way to cel­e­brate any hol­i­day.

‘the Guilt trip’ Star­ring:

PARA­MOUNT PIC­TURES CONTRIBUTED BY

Seth Ro­gen (left) plays an in­ven­tor on the road trip of a life­time when his mother, Bar­bara Streisand, de­cides to come along in “The Guilt Trip.” Bar­bra Streisand, Seth Ro­gen, Kathy Na­jimy

Di­rec­tor: Anne Fletcher

Rat­ing: PG-13 for lan­guage, adult ma­te­rial. Run­ning time: 1 hour, 35 min­utes.

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