Like a good HJ enjoying her holiday weekend with pals, this past Saturday I headed for movie mecca and went to see The Guilt Trip with about 10 other 20 something Jews. While one of our writers fears seeing this movie as much as he fears calling his mother after a few weeks silence, this writer thoroughly enjoyed herself. Sassy critics begone, Seth Rogen and Babs made for a great mother-son team and there was much loling to be had by all.
The joke and concept that made this movie both loved and reviled actually did quite well in my book. The humor of the whole movie was essentially “it’s funny cuz it’ s just like my Jewish mother!” Babs’ character eats M&M’s in bed every night; I was with a girl whose mother does literally the same thing. My mother lifts her hair and fans the back of her neck near the end of every meal; Babs does the same thing (LOL menopause!). Plus bringing along a bag of paper towels in the car, playing an obnoxiously loud game on her iPhone she doesn’t know how to use, multi-tasking while driving, the list goes on and on. This gag would have become tired if they hadn’t done it so well – the idiosyncrasies and mannerisms of the Jewish mother (and any loving mother, for that matter), were both spot on and heartwarming.
And now to that heartwarming thing. One thing this movie could have done very easily was to have had Babs impose herself on young Seth via a misunderstanding, him act intolerant and abusive the whole trip, then it would explode in a blow out, and finally get resolved in an “I love you mom, I love you son,” big cheesy scene. Ok, so it sort of did this. But the premise of the movie, which is a son and his mom on a road trip together, all came from love in the first place. Seth’s character invites his mom on the road trip (she doesn’t impose herself), because he wants to help her find love/a new man. There is a big blow up scene, but there’s not really a cheesy resolution scene. Instead, Joyce (Barbara Streisand’s character) gets wasted at a hotel bar, Seth (I honestly don’t remember his character’s name) protects her from some leering old dudes, and they just kind of move on and acknowledge that they’re sorry. This movie isn’t about a son and mom coming to love and accept each other, it’s about loving and accepting all while dealing with all the crazy shit, which is more realistic.
Overall, this movie made me want to call my mother, but in a good way, to tell her I loved her. Now I suggest you do the same!