Prayer Focus
Click here to watch THE HOPE on-line!

The Guilt Trip also known as “My Mother’s Curse”

MPAA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPAA) for language and some risqué material.

Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan

Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Comedy Drama
1 hr. 35 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
December 19, 2012 (wide—2,300+ theaters)
Copyright, Paramount Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Paramount Pictures

mother and adult son relationship

overbearing mother

listening to mother’s advice

Featuring: Yvonne Strahovski … Jessica
Seth RogenAndy Brewster
Casey Wilson … Amanda
Kathy Najimy
Adam Scott … Andrew Margolis Jr.
Colin HanksRob
Barbra Streisand … Joyce Brewster
See all »
Director: Anne Fletcher
Producer: Michaels-Goldwyn
Paramount Pictures
See all »
Distributor: Paramount Pictures

“Get ready for one mother of a road trip”

Andy Brewster (Seth Rogen) is a household cleaner inventor and salesman who just can’t seem to get any companies to take interest in his product “Scio-Clean.” He decides to take a trip to see his mother Joyce (Barbara Streisand). During a brief conversation at the dinner table, Joyce talks to Andy about her relationships with other men and how there was one that really stood out, a relationship with Andrew Margolis. Andy does some research on Mr. Margolis and discovers that he currently resides in San Francisco, California. Andy decides to do something nice for his mother by asking her if she wants to join him on an eight day trip across the country to try and promote his product. Little does Joyce know that their final stop will be in San Francisco to visit Andrew Margolis. The two embark on a mother-son trip they will remember for the rest of their lives.

Perhaps my definition of comedy is different than other people’s. To me, when something is comedic, it means I laugh uncontrollably and sometimes even think about the jokes long after the movie has ended. Why do I say this? “The Guilt Trip,” marketed as a comedy, was anything but humorous. I laughed a few times. Very few. When I did, they were anything Barbara Streisand’s character, Joyce, said or did. Example: There is a comedic scene in a hotel room they share where Andy is trying to get to sleep and Joyce starts nibbling on Peanut M&Ms very annoyingly.

Seth Rogen was not very funny. I don’t recall any truly funny lines from his character, which is sad, because I feel that Mr. Rogen is a fine, established actor and has a lot of talent to offer in Hollywood. The film has more of a “drama” feel, which is alright, but I was expecting a little more “comedy” than what I received.

There is some character development. Throughout the movie, bits and pieces of information creep their way in about the characters. Unfortunately, there just isn’t enough information to get a sense of who these main characters are. For example, why, in the movie, is Andy so angry at his mother? My thoughts were, “Sure his mother calls him a lot, but that’s only because she cares and loves him.” According to Scripture this is what parents are called to do… to love their children unconditionally and raise them in a manner that is pleasing towards the Lord and according to God’s principles. The verse that comes to mind about how parents are to raise their children in the Lord comes from Proverbs 22:6 which says, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it”(NKJV).

I looked at Joyce and saw a mother who, yes, is a little overprotective, but mothers are suppose to be like that, sometimes. Had I known the answer to why Andy is so angry at her, I may have understood the “trip” a little better. No matter what the cause was, Andy needed to respect his mother, as Joyce asks him to in the film. Nowhere does the Bible tell children they are allowed to disobey or disrespect their parents (unless the action their parents ask them to do goes against God). Proverbs 13:1 states, “A wise son heeds his father’s instructions, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke” (NKJV).

Objectionable Content

When you see a film with Barbara Streisand, you should expect some filthy humor and inappropriate material to immerge (an example of this comes from one of her more recent movies “Little Fockers”). The following content may be cause for concern, even for a film rated PG-13.

Sex/Nudity: Heavy (perhaps that’s an understatement). When Andy and Joyce check into a hotel the hotel clerk looks at Joyce and then back at Andy, making faces at Andy implying that Andy would be sleeping in the same bed as her, to which Andy strongly objects. Joyce and Andy, while driving, listen to a book-on-CD concerning hermaphrodites that contains inappropriate descriptions concerning sex positions. When Andy and Joyce stop in front of a resteraunt, due to car problems, they soon realize that it’s a strip bar, and we see women pole dancing in very cleavage bearing and revealing clothing. Afterwards, Joyce and Andy are picked up by Joyce’s friend Jess and her husband. Jess’ husband says Jess got pregnant by “two margaritas and the movie ‘Love, Actually’.” A billboard in Las Vegas shows a woman’s backside in revealing clothing. During the ending credits, there are conversations about sex and tuberculosis.

Profanity: This is somewhere between Moderate and Heavy. In total there is one instance of God- D**n, one “f**k,” ten instances of “sh*t,” Jesus’ name is taken in vain twice, and God’s name is taken in vain eight times (five of them in the form of O.M.G.). Other vulgarity includes a reference about a lesbian couple, Joyce mentioning to Andy that he once dated an “oriental,” and Joyce giving some details about a “passionate” relationship she had with one man. Other terms used include, “tramp,” and “sucks” and an incredibly inappropriate conversation by Joyce talking to Andy about the “color” of his private area. Joyce mentions to Andy that he should never pick up hitchhikers because they rape people. Joyce also mentions something about Andy dating, to which he replies, “You want me whoring myself out?” and mentions a thong.

Violence: Minor. There is one scene where Andy is trying to protect his mother and slaps a man at a bar in Vegas. The man returns the favor by punching Andy in the face. We see a bruise on Andy in the next scene. During the end credits, Joyce accidentally hits someone with her car.

Other: There are two scenes of alcohol use. One is in a hotel room, where Andy is seen drinking. The other is when Joyce is in a bar, and she becomes drunk.

Final Thoughts

Looking back at the beginning of my review, I still have to ask, “Has comedy sunk this low?” Does “The Guilt Trip” need to have this much “questionable” content to draw in an audience? Personally, I say no. Unfortunately, we live in a world where this type of material has become “appropriate.” Christians have the right, and are called, to stand up and say, “No more,” even when the rest of the world says, “Give me more.” “The Guilt Trip,” in itself, is a drama about a mother and son having a good time together and could have been just as nice a film, and perhaps more child-friendly, had they edited some of the content. If you can look past the inappropriate portions of “The Guilt Trip,” I’d say it’s not a bad choice (according to the stars above), but not a good one either. Please do not bring children to this film. Discerning teens and adults are the more appropriate audience. My advice? Skip it. Or save your money and wait for the DVD.

Violence: Minor / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Heavy

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—This was better then expected. Sure, there was a little weirdness of her wanting to listen to some sex novel or something on the drive, but you didn’t really hear any of it, you just knew they were putting the CDs in sometimes. And they thought they were going into a different place that ended up being a topless bar, I just fast forward those parts. Putting those things aside, it was a cute mother about the relationship between a child and a parent. And there were some cute messages. She said the F-word one time, which I was surprised.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
Amanda, age 39 (USA)
Neutral—I went to see this movie because I read some good reviews, and I think Barbara Streisand is a good actress. This movie focuses entirely on the relationship between a mother and her son and is a well-textured, well-nuanced drama, with a very credible script and good performances. It’s a shame there was some profanity sprinkled throughout. I am neutral about the entertainment aspect of this film. It is not a must see, at all. What is memorable are the emotional changes depicted in the movie, as mother and son get to know each other better.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
Halyna Barannik, age 66 (USA)

PLEASE share your observations and insights to be posted here.