Thursday, 20 December 2012
The Guilt Trip
dir Anne Fletcher; with Seth Rogen, Barbra Streisand 12/US ***
With a surprisingly low-key tone, this road comedy is more gentle and sentimental than it looks in the trailer. But it's consistently enjoyable and has a couple of strong moments along the way thanks to an off-handed turn from Streisand that never goes over the top. She plays a Jewish mum who won't stop meddling in the life of her only son (Rogen). He has his own reasons for inviting her along on a business trip driving from New Jersey to San Francisco. Incidents along the way are amusing if never hilarious, and the message about paying attention to the needs of those around you while tempering your own impulses isn't terribly deep. But Streisand gives a beautifully layered performance that mixes broad comedy with internalised drama. So if the filmmakers avoid all of the story's potentially interesting edges, we don't mind too much.
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REPORT FROM ON THE ROAD:
I'm enjoying being in Southern California for the holidays - it's a bit chilly but the sunshine and ocean views are great. Film-wise this is the first new one I've seen in over a week. I rewatched Magic Mike on the plane (just as enjoyable, same narrative problems) and then took my parents to see Life of Pi, which is just as astounding the second time and likely to unseat Rust and Bone as my best of the year in my lists next week.