Niagara Gazette

Night & Day

December 24, 2012

CALLERI: 'This Is 40' and 'Guilt Trip' fall short on laughs

Niagara Gazette — Although violence aficionado Quentin Tarantino may disagree, the Christmas season is usually a time for light-hearted fare at movie theaters.

Two new comedies strain their collective talent while trying to make you laugh. “The Guilt Trip” features Barbra Streisand, who clearly doesn’t need the work. And “This Is 40” is yet another venture into the toilet bowl from writer-director Judd Apatow.

Ironically, it was 40 years ago that Streisand was lighting up the screen in such hilarious comedies as “The Owl And The Pussycat” and “What’s Up, Doc?” Living the high-life in Malibu, and publishing an extravagant book about it, has appealed to her much more than making films. After directing and starring in “The Mirror Has Two Faces” in 1996, she did return to movies for “Meet The Fockers” in 2004 and “Little Fockers” in 2010. Overall, Streisand has made only 20 films in an acting career spanning 44 years.

Her being back on screen in “The Guilt Trip,” may be a joyous occasion for her fans, but it might have been joyous for everyone if the vehicle she had chosen were better. In this lackluster movie, which is lazily directed by Anne Fletcher and unimpressively written by Dan Fogelman, Streisand plays Joyce Brewster, a meddlesome mother with a secret she needs to share and a laggard son who shows some promise. The son, Andrew, is weakly played by Seth Rogen, who tries to tone down his stoner comedy image and actually create a flesh-and-blood character. He fails in the face of the juggernaut that is Streisand.

The story is simple. Andrew has invented what he believes is the perfect, environmentally friendly cleaning product. He wants to sell it to stores across the United States. The widowed Joyce tags along for a cross-country ride that is supposed to end up in San Francisco, where Andrew hopes she will hopefully rediscover a fellow from her past, the secret of whose existence she finally shares with her son.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Night & Day
Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge US Supports Ukraine's Efforts to Calm Tensions Suspect in Kansas Shootings Faces Murder Charges Ukraine: Military Recaptures Eastern Airport Raw: Storm Topples RVs Near Miss. Gulf Coast NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse Pistorius Cries During Final Cross-Examination The Boston Marathon Bombing: One Year Later Michael Phelps Set to Come Out of Retirement First Women Move to Army Platoon Artillery Jobs Sex Offenders Charged in Serial Killings Police: Woman Stored Dead Babies in Garage OC Serial Murder Suspects May Have More Victims Family: 2 Shot in Head at Kan. Jewish Center Raw: Horse Jumping Inspires 'Bunny Hop' After Attack, Officials Kill 5 Bears in Florida Popular Science Honors Year's Top Inventions ND Oil Boom Attracting Drug Traffickers
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page