Road trip comedies in the past have usually been centred on groups of friends venturing out on wild escapades with what is left of their youth or bachelor status.
The Guilt Trip, starring award winning juggernaut Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen, however, tells the light hearted story of a mother's unceasing love.
Andy Brewster( Rogen) is a scientist who has spent several years developing an organic (and ingestible) cleaning product made from natural sources . As he is about to set out on a road trip to pitch the cleaning solution to distributers, his overbearing mother Joyce (Streisand) feels that the time has come to tell him something from her past. Her first love, whom she met two years before Andy's father, was a man called Andrew Margolis and the man she named him after.
Discovering that Mr Margolis lives in San Francisco, Andy surprises Joyce with an invitation to join him on his business trip across America (keeping his search for Andrew a secret). Joyce of course jumps at the chance to spend time with her only son. Over the first few days and thousands of miles they cover, Andy's pitch fails to attract any buyers and he becomes increasingly aggravated by Joyce's antics and constant pestering.
Andy knows that his mother loves him greatly but he has never felt free of her meddling. She calls his phone daily and leaves messages asking him questions about various personal areas of his life.
Along the trip, he rejects all the advice she tries to give him, including her common sense and useful business tips. Slowly however, Andy begins to see a different side to his mother and starts to appreciate her more. He begins to realise that she in fact has valuable experience that can provide insights into his business. Joyce feels that by Andy moving to California to study, what he was really doing was running away from her. It is later that she sees he is only trying to establish himself.
The mother and son travel from state to state meeting a host of characters along the way who help them rediscover one another, their last stop being San Francisco.
The film is successful in showing the two characters begin to not just like each other but appreciate one another as individuals. The days and nights they spend together on the roads force them to communicate more which helps them both see each other in a different light.
The Guilt Trip may encourage viewers to take a close look at their relationships with their parents in a new light and in turn help parents reassess their relationships with their children as they become adults. Do we appreciate the advice that they give us? Do we always trust in their life experiences? Do we give them enough of our time?
Another lesson the film draws on is that no matter what level of maturity an individual is at, the wisdom of parents will always supersede their own and to take what they say on board demonstrates wisdom.
Mothers play an ongoing role in the lives of their children, whether they are children, teenagers, young adults or fully grown adults. While the role of motherhood must change and develop, the love, care and encouragement a mother gives is unceasing and this is something we see in Joyce. The Guilt Trip serves as an ode to motherhood.
The Guilt Trip is released on 8 March.
For free resources see www.damaris.org/guilttrip