Yentl Soup

The audience at Monday’s preview of “The Guilt Trip” seemed to be mostly there to see Barbra Streisand. My wife and I imagined a scenario where grown children are home for the holidays and looking for something to do. Their parents are willing to see a Streisand movie while they are willing to see a Seth Rogen movie. “The Guilt Trip” is a good compromise.

The film is a sweet love story but not a romance. The love is maternal as mother and son learn to stop irritating and start respecting one another. There are funny moments too. The trailer makes it look like more of an outrageous comedy than it actually is.

I could relate to the characters’ New York roots while my wife and I could both relate to the long journey through some familiar territory. We’ve been to the same parts of Virginia, Tennessee, Arizona, Nevada and California. Rogen plays Andy Brewster, an organic chemist. Our son is a chemical engineer.

As Andy and his mother Joyce start out on their cross-country road trip, they plan a stop in Roanoke and debate whether or not to stop in Nashville. Joyce mentions that the world’s largest Rubik’s cube is in Tennessee. A freak snowstorm strands them at a “gentlemen’s club” near Nashville. The bar manager is played by Knoxville native Dale Dickey. They meet up with a married couple played by Colin Hanks and Yvonne Strahovski, who plays Rogen’s high-school sweetheart. Coincidentally, Hanks and Strahovski were villainous “Dexter” guest stars on seasons six and seven respectively.

When they get to Amarillo, Joyce decides to take the eating challenge at the Big Texan Steak Ranch. The same restaurant was featured in the road-trip documentary “Hollywood to Dollywood,” which I watched last month. In Vegas, One of the songs they hear is Paul Anka’s cover of “Wonderwall.”

Writer Dan Fogelman and his mother Joyce took a Jersey-to-Vegas road trip that inspired the story. In the movie, Joyce is supposed to be about 22 years older than her son. In real life, Streisand is old enough to be my mother and Rogen is young enough to be my son. Fortunately I was able to ignore the age difference and enjoy the movie.

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