Friday, December 21, 2012

The Guilt Trip [2012]

MPAA (PG-13)  CNS/USCCB (A-III)  Fr. Dennis (3 1/2 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB review

The Guilt Trip (directed by Anne Fletcher, screenplay by Dan Fogelman) is lovely if not particularly about a somewhat dysfunctional (smothering...) mother / son relationship.  Yes, it's formulaic.  Yes, it's not going to be considered "oscar" material, though I do believe that both Barbara Straisand who played the lovingly smothering mother and Seth Rogan who played her exasperated but also "clay-footed" (with his own limits/failings) son, certainly "stepped-up" in approaching their roles and, indeed, shined.

This is honestly a film with a universal theme that is also very, very safe.  As such, I'd certainly recommend it to multi-generational families (parents with adult children and perhaps even some grandchildren) that may be "looking for something to do" some afternoon or evening during the coming weeks while celebrating the Christmas and New Years' Holidays.

The beginning sequence sets up the film beautifully:  Los Angelelino son, Andrew Brewster (played by Seth Rogan) is woken-up simultanously by his alarm clock and his mother leaving a message on his cellphone (set to vibrate ...) because, well ... she's forgotten (and apologizes during the course of her message...) that it may be 8:45 AM back in her New Jersey but ... 5:45 in L.A. ... Between his getting-up and getting to his meeting with representatives for K-Mart, he receieves 3 other messages ... all loving, all sincere, all wonderfully supportive.   He dutifully listens to them all ... and deletes them one-by-one as soon as they finish (sometimes the instant they finish ...).  He steps into the meeting with the reps from K-mart, begins his pitch for the product that he is selling ... and we, the audience, instantly appreciate another aspect of the story that's going to unfold.

This is a lovely and gentle movie about reality ... and the people we share it with (at times, whether we like it or not ... ;-).  As such, honestly GREAT JOB ... even if neither of the two leads are going to get recognized (much) come awards season ...

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