Niagara Gazette

Night & Day

December 24, 2012

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

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette —

The journey to northern California takes absurd side trips, meandering from New Jersey to Tennessee to Texas and the, by now, tiresome arena of Las Vegas. This tells you all you need to know as to why the movie fails. Who drives from coast-to-coast that way? No one except inept filmmakers hoping to score comic points with assembly line scenes that are, unfortunately, riddled with cliches and stereotypes. Oversize meals and car trouble? Is that the best Fletcher and Fogelman could do?

Joyce is the classic nitpicker; a kvetching, albeit oblivious, annoyance to all around her. She enjoys her son’s company and blithely doesn’t seem to care that she makes him uncomfortable. Andrew is always embarrassed and feels guilty about almost everything she does. Rogen doing his “aw-shucks, aw-mom routine” is painful to watch. Movie mothers are supposed to be cute (except Carrie White’s and Norman Bates’s, of course), and the fact that it’s Streisand controlling every moment and chewing the scenery is fun, but only for a while. Tedium eventually sets in.

“The Guilt Trip” is propelled by the force of Streisand’s personality, but she alone can’t deliver the faulty comedy to its intended destination. This is truly a bumpy ride.

The excruciatingly awful “This Is 40” features more members of the Apatow family than any moviegoer should be compelled to endure. In addition to producer-director-screenwriter Judd, there’s his wife, the alleged actress Leslie Mann, as well as their two real-life daughters, Maude and Iris.

The pathetic film takes two lesser characters from Apatow’s “Knocked Up” and tries to package an entire movie around them. It doesn’t work. There’s a reason they were originally lesser characters. There’s not much meat on their comedic bones; therefore, strained situations have to be invented in an attempt to make them relatable to audiences.

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