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The Guilt Trip(2012)
An inventor and his mom hit the road together so he can sell his latest invention.
For more about The Guilt Trip and the The Guilt Trip Blu-ray release, see the The Guilt Trip Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on May 2, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Seth Rogen, Barbra Streisand, Yvonne Strahovski, Colin Hanks, Brett Cullen, Adam Scott
Director: Anne Fletcher
» See full cast & crew
The Guilt Trip Blu-ray Review
Don't feel guilty about adding this quality film to your Blu-ray collection.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, May 2, 2013
This was the best week of my life.
Direct Anne Fletcher's (27 Dresses) The Guilt Trip is a movie that requires a little bit of patience and a sprinkling of faith to really appreciate. What begins as something of a drag of a movie with a terribly predictable plot arc morphs into a touching little character piece with, yes, that same terribly predicable plot arc but now one that's largely overshadowed by the heartfelt character chemistry and the simple little joys that turn routine dramatic elements into something that borders on the pretty special. Through the personal mayhem and the challenges of several charming misadventures on the road comes not a unique but certainly very well conceived and tremendously executed sense of togetherness between mother and son, born of a deep love, shaped by outward annoyances, and rekindled by life's experiences both cumulatively and those gained while on a weeklong car trip where the destination isn't a dot on the map but rather an endpoint at the heart. As the story evolves, so too do its characters and its emotions, ending on a simple but touching high that makes the routine give way to a little slice of real life honesty and tenderness that cinema could certainly stand to embrace even a little bit more than it already does.
Andy Brewster (Seth Rogen) is a struggling inventor. A chemist by trade and a skilled one at that, he's been trying to sell an advanced, eco-friendly, and highly effective cleaning agent he calls "Scieoclean." Prior to an East-West sales pitch bonanza tour, he flies in to the East coast to spend some time with his mother Joyce (Barbra Streisand), a terribly overbearing widow who clings to her son, floods him with questions about his personal life, and grates on his nerves with nearly every syllable she speaks and every action she takes. During a frank conversation about his love life, she lets slip the details of a past relationship with a man named Andy Margolis. Andy, her son, takes it upon himself to search out his details on the Internet and finds he's an ad executive in San Francisco. His cross-country road trip back home, with stops in places like Tennessee, Texas, Santa Fe, and finally Las Vegas, means fairly close proximity to The City by the Bay, so he hatches a plan to bring his mother along in hopes that she can meet back up with her long lost love and find a purpose in her life beyond overwhelming her only son. Of course, thousands of miles and a disruptive mother who doesn't understand business world tact could be a hazard for young Andy who sees the trip as a make-or-break time for his failing cleaning product business.
Though there's certainly more than enough convention to pack a tour bus traveling cross-country, The Guilt Trip does at least do away with the usual "Road Trip" themes and focuses on something a little more believably genuine and relatable. Rather than a bunch of guys finding alcohol fueled mayhem and mischief, The Guilt Trip focuses on a more personal family dynamic between a struggling inventor and his smothering mother. It makes for some terribly predictable arcs but it also makes for something significantly more touching by the end. The picture keeps its humor more low-key than films of this sort normally embrace, yielding a more family-friendly tone and a movie through which viewers who can relate to the characters might find a shared camaraderie with them in an experience that feels genuine rather manufactured. Certainly, it wears a little thin in places as it maneuvers through some cliché, predictability, and slow stretches, but as it does so it builds a nuanced relationship that audiences begin to feel as the strain of the trip lowers the characters' defenses and particularly when they each hit rock-bottom and only together can climb back up. The final act offers a satisfying payoff; it takes a little too long to get there, but audiences will come to appreciate in hindsight the finer little character details that come define the movie once the credits roll.
Rogen and Streisand are fantastic. It's an excellent pairing with both capturing the essential surface character traits -- to deliberately annoying levels -- but slowly yet surely constructing the deeper, inner characters who emerge by the end. They both manage to make those skin crawling eccentricities work, he her opposite as he holds in his frustration while she lets loose a never-ending barrage of quips and comments that grate his nerves and unsettle the audience. Yet there's that ever-so-slowly revealed, but always felt, sense of love, respect, and good-will hiding below, qualities that want to come out but just cannot because he won't let them and because she's a bit to naive to see how she's humiliating him. Streisand really does the part justice; she's not the typical smothering television or movie mother who is all about excess to comical ends. Instead, she finds just the pitch to where she's relatable and loving yet still annoying, exactly the correct formula for the slow ascent to likability that builds through the film. Rogen, too, shines in the part. There might not be a more agreeable young actor than he, evident here as well as in the grossly underrated The Green Hornet and in the infinitely touching 50/50. A gentleness and likability permeates from him, shines through his eyes, seems alway obvious in his smile. He plays against the legendary Streisand like he was her son, not at all taken by her larger-than-life presence, at least not the presence her character doesn't smother his character with. The Guilt Trip is largely a success thanks to their wonderful screen chemistry, performance art abilities, and understanding of just the right way to shape the characters to make them seem like real people from down the street rather than Hollywood manufactured vessels that can deliver a line but not really understand the reasoning and the real-world qualities behind it.
The Guilt Trip Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Guilt Trip's 1080p transfer isn't the most stunning thing ever released to high definition, but Paramount's stable, enjoyable presentation gets the job done. There are some gorgeous roadway and city shots; overhead highway images or dense downtown locations both reveal fantastic textures, crisp lines, and precise details even at a distance. General facial and clothing details are fine, though not really as crisp as those seen in the best Blu-ray releases. There is a light softness to parts of the image, and sometimes definition can be a little muddled, particularly in warmer locations such as a Texas steakhouse and a Vegas casino. Still, basic definition is just fine, particularly under good lighting. Colors are well balanced, favoring a warmth in those more harshly lit environments and a more natural presence in those more naturally lit places. Black levels are not problematic, though flesh tones do look a bit rosy at times. The image suffers from no obvious bouts of digital tinkering, print wear, or compression issues. This isn't a breathtaking transfer, but it's a good, stable, clean high definition release that suits the movie well.
The Guilt Trip Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The Guilt Trip features the old "technically proficient but sonically dull" DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack. No surprise, this is a dialogue-heavy film with little else to offer. Fortunately, the spoken word comes through as well as it can, playing with a natural, front-focused clarity. The track otherwise features some scattered ambient sound effects that help set the stage for various scenes and that enjoy natural, pinpoint positioning around the stage. Whether the light rattle inside the rental car and the minor whooshing sounds of passing traffic as heard when it's cruising down the interstate, booms of thunder and gusts of wind as heard in chapter six, or little Country music and general restaurant clatter as heard in chapter nine, the track presents the little supportive pieces quite effortlessly. This is certainly no massively immersive sort of presentation, but the basic quality is evident with every syllable and sound effect.
The Guilt Trip Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Guilt Trip contains a hodgepodge of short supplements.
The Guilt Trip Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
The Guilt Trip is a pleasant surprise. It begins slowly but ends strongly, efficiently building up, breaking down, and again, but differently, building up its characters to a predictable but heartwarming and wholly satisfying resolution. The film works as well as it does because of the greatness of its leads; Rogen and Streisand are simply wonderful together. They understand the story, the characters, and one another so well that the relationship -- the entire dynamic, not just bits and pieces -- feel as authentic as most any other memorable cinema family. Don't let a slow start ruin the movie; it only gets better with every minute. Paramount's Blu-ray release of The Guilt Trip offers solid video, fine audio, and a few supplements. Highly recommended.
The Guilt Trip: Other Editions
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The Guilt Trip Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Exclusive Prize Pack Giveaway: The Guilt Trip - April 29, 2013
Blu-ray.com and Paramount Home Entertainment are offering two members the opportunity to win a Blu-ray copy of director Anne Fletcher's The Guilt Trip, along with a special "Relaxation Spa" gift basket. The Guilt Trip stars Seth Rogen, Barbra Streisand, Yvonne ...
• The Guilt Trip Blu-ray - February 13, 2013
Paramount Home Distribution has officially announced and detailed its upcoming Blu-ray release of director Anne Fletcher's The Guilt Trip (2012), starring Barbra Streisand, Seth Rogen, and Julene Renee-Preciado. The release will be available for purchase online ...
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