"The Guilt Trip" Review: Seth Rogen Takes a Blood Sh*t on Christmas
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The Guilt Trip Review: Seth Rogen Takes a Blood Sh*t on Christmas

By Dustin Rowles | Film Reviews | December 24, 2012 | Comments ()


The Guilt Trip is not a terrible movie. It's just not a good one. In fact, it's obstinately not good, the kind of movie that doesn't aspire to be anything other than mildly watchable, if that. It is decidedly middle-of-the-road, a bland movie by design, as though it was specifically constructed by a corporate conglomerate to be the holiday movie that everyone reluctantly agrees upon because no one can agree on a first choice (Django Unchained), a second choice (Les Mis), a third choice (This is 40) or a fourth choice (Jack Reacher). The Guilt Trip is the movie that everyone's family will idly tolerate, a movie to snooze through after a huge Christmas feast, an hour and a half to take a break from the family and vaguely seethe at the screen.

The only mystery here is why Seth Rogen would choose to make a film so painfully conservative, so uniformly blah. Is The Guilt Trip his gateway to the family film careers of Eddie Murphy, Adam Sandler, and occasionally Will Ferrel? Or is it just a paycheck between minor stoner comedy hits? Because it's sure as sh*t not a movie the guy who co-wrote Superbad and Pineapple Express would like. It's a movie the guy who co-wrote Superbad would cynically crap out, a get-rich scheme to appeal to as many people as possible without really appealing to anyone because he needs more money to buy pot.

The Guilt Trip is a limp and uninspired road-trip comedy, pairing a bickering chemistry geek (Rogen) with his bickering Jersey mom (Barbara Streisand). Directed by Anne Fletcher (The Proposal, Step Up, 27 Dresses, OH GOD WHY SETH ROGEN?), the chemist has created a new cleaning product made of all natural ingredients and he takes it across country to pitch it to various big-box outfits like Costco and K-Mart. Along for the trip is the mother, who spends most of the time kvetching and worrying about her son, and wiping schmutz off his face. Along the way, per road-trip movie tradition, their car breaks down in a winter storm at a strip club, where there's Rogen makes some awkward faces to express discomfort. There's also a good 20-minute sequence in the middle of The Guilt Trip where Streisand's character engages in a binge-eating context at a Texas steak restaurant that acts as the turning point in the film, bringing a complaining widow and a exasperated son closer together in as trite and predictable way as possible. 'MURICA.

There is nothing in The Guilt Trip that cannot be telegraphed the moment you see the movie poster. There is no beat, no situation, and no joke that you haven't heard a thousand times in your life already. It is the Velveeta of holiday movies: Processed to be vaguely palatable and to fill you up, but there is nothing enjoyable or entertaining about experiencing it. It just exists and I wish it didn't.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • denesteak

    Maybe he really, really, really wanted to Barbara Streisand. That would be why *I* did it.

  • b

    That's what I was thinking. Maybe he was just like, "Barbara Streisand is a legend, and my parents would kill me if I passed up the opportunity to do a movie with her."

  • denesteak

    work with Babs... I forgot a verb in there.

  • zeke_the_pig

    What a goddamn travesty of a pisstake. Rogen, you fuck, get up, stand up, and say that this is part of some sort Joaquin-esque performance art.

  • Bodhi

    Barbra didn't seem to enthused about it during her recent Fresh Air interview

  • Mrs. Julien

    So is Streisand filmed exclusively to show her left side? Ever since I heard that she made Rosie O'Donnell reconfigure her set so Streisand would be shown on her "good" side, I wonder that every time I see her.

    And now I miss Paddydog because you just know she would take the opportunity to point out the irony that Streisand thinks she has a "good" side.

  • Robert

    Even nuttier: a bunch of the Cinema Blend contributors were tweeting about a critic talk-back after a press screening. Apparently, Babs refused to leave the tri-state area to make a cross country road trip film. So all these shots that aren't NY/NJ are effects shots or recreations in a studio. Insanity.

  • John G.

    where's Paddydog? And which Julien are you?

  • Mrs. Julien

    "THE" Julien?

  • Uriah_Creep

    I'm pretty sure Paddydog stopped commenting because of the Disqus fiasco, and she is missed. One of these days, I will unleash a rant about Disqus and how much it sucks despite some great features, but for now I will spare you all. You're quite welcome.

  • Alarmjaguar

    Oh sad, I missed all of that, and now I miss Paddydog.

  • Mrs. Julien

    She said she went cold turkey and it was difficult. I did let her know I had name dropped her on the site. At least Ghisent and Kballs are making scattered appearances.

  • dizzylucy

    This will be one of those movies that fades away and no one really remembers, except for the occasional airing on basic cable. If Seth Rogen is lucky, anyway.

  • Slash

    What's a "blood shot"?

  • Mrs. Julien

    No, it's "blood shut". It's a clotting term.

  • Belkwinith

    Velveeta helps to make my holiday staple, Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes, which everyone loves. It's cheesy, thick, gooey, and starchy and not at all good for you, but everyone loves it. So by calling this move "Velveeta" you have described what might end up as a future holiday classic, to be replayed over over again on cable tv for those with less sublime pallets to enjoy as comforting filler as we continue our downward spiral to total oblivion.

  • BAM

    There is a huge difference between being "-mildly watchable" and "taking a blood sh*t on Christmas." I know hyperbole is a commonly wielded weapon around here, but come on. The image you are conjuring with that headline is really terrible.

  • bleujayone

    Agreed. "Christmas with the Kranks" is the bloody stool to this movie's wet eggnog fart.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    blech, but yes.

  • toblerone

    Should Jews really make movies about Christmas?

  • Jezzer

    Your point seems to be that non-Christians shouldn't be allowed to make a movie about a holiday that is now largely secular, but that would be a shit-stupid point to make, so I'm interested to see where you are actually going with this.

  • e jerry powell

    If Barbra Streisand can record a Christmas album (see: 1967)...

  • bleujayone

    Her version of "Jingle Bells" alone would make even the Grinch's ears bleed.

  • Sara_Tonin00


    It's a movie to take your parent(s) to after the traditional Christmas Chinese dinner, if you know what I'm sayin'

  • bleujayone

    "Deck the hars wit baws of hory. Fa-rah-rah-rah...rah rah rah-rah."

  • Romeo Cranberry

    is it sad that this is actually a much more positive review than i was expecting?

    seth rogen appears to be taking a page from the david-cross-doing-alvin-and-the-chipmunks-so-he-can-buy-a-new-house play book.

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