Writings from the Desk of Kelly Sisco

Live Your Life Out Loud !!

“The Guilt Trip” – The Road Trip that brought a Mother and Son Closer Together despite the Rough Patches.

The Road Trip that brought a Mother and Son Closer Together despite the Rough Patches. You never know what life can bring when you spend some time with your mother. No matter what age, a mother will always want to spent time with her son. So it is no surprise that Joyce Brewer, played by Barbra Streisand, is really excited when her son Andrew (Andy) Brewster, played by funny man Seth Rogen, came home for a visit and asked her if she wanted to go on an eight day cross country car trip with him while he goes to different clients selling his revolutionary, organic cleaning product called Sioclean. Ever since Andy was a young boy, he always wanted to be an organic chemist and he took the last several years coming up with and making an eco-friendly cleaning product that he is trying to get on the shelves at major department stores. Andy plays a guy who is around 30 years old (that is the actor Seth Rogen’s real age) who loves his mother greatly but does not always love being around her because she is extremely over protective. Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand are excellent together and really show what goes on between a mother and son. “The Guilt Trip” is directed by Anne Fletcher from a screenplay written by Dan Fogelman.

Relationships will always have their good and not so good moments but it is how we deal with the not so good moments that make us stronger. Sometimes no matter how frustrated a mother can make her child, the child gives into her because they can see how happy she is just to have spent some time with them. There is no greater love than the love a mother has for her child…wait maybe the love a father has for his child as well. Andy does not come home and visit his mom often and when his mother, Joyce, finds out that he is coming home for a visit she is waiting at the airport with arms wide open full of energy and excitement. She greets her son and tells him that she has made a big chicken dinner and her girl friends are coming over to have a meal and see him. Andy has the look of “oh no, mom, please not tonight” on his face and tells his mom that he is too jet lagged to see company. His mom insists and there is no saying no to his mother. His mother’s friends talk Andy’s ear off and ask him all types of questions about his business that he is simply too tired to explain and when his mother explains it she does not get it quite right. His mother is always telling stories wrong or the way she thinks they go. The mother, Joyce, has a very big personality and is super friendly to everyone and drives her son crazy. Andy is home a few nights and one night while having dinner, that was not going too good, his mother tells him a story from her past that she really wanted him to know about. At first Andy does not really want to know because he thinks what is in the past should stay in the past but his mother goes on to explain her story anyway. She tells Andy that before his father died, when he was just eight years old, there was another man in her life. His father and this other man were the only two guys that Joyce has ever loved. She was telling Andy how, when she was very young, she almost married this other guy and how much she was in love with him. He did not propose to her and so she moved on and met Andy’s father and married him instead. However, she always wondered how her life would have worked out if she had married her first lover. Andy is not sure why now; at that moment, his mother was telling him this story. His mother was feeling lonely being a widow for so long and just felt like opening up to her son. Andy finds out that her first lover’s name was Andy Margolis and he was named after him. Andy did not really like that his mother had named him after her first love but is now glad that he found out and that his mother shared this story with him because he could tell that letting him know was very important to her. His mother just wanted a story that she could bond with her son over. You knew that Joyce was hurting and that there was something missing in her life and she was thinking back to her youthful days to find some comfort. You find out throughout the movie that what was missing was a person who she could share all the love she had built up inside herself with. Her son was the very person she needed to love but he was not letting her in, or if he was then only a little bit. Life is too short to be arguing and being upset with your family especially when your family is small and all you have is your mother and all she has is her son.

A night after that conversation there was another conversation in the kitchen where Andy asked a question that he cannot believe that he really asked. He asks his mother if she wants to go on a road trip with him while he travels for business. At first she plays it like she is too busy to go, but after a few minutes screams out in excitement that she can’t wait to go and this will be so wonderful. Andy is still trying to get over the fact of what he just asked his mother but seeing her super happy made him realize that he was doing a good thing and that maybe having his mother join him would not be so bad. On their road trip there is nothing that his mother has not remembered to not do and take care of. She thinks she has everything under control but does not realize what she is putting her son through. Andy is trying to promote his new cleaning product and he does not need his mother getting in the way. Andy should have known that his mother was not going to be silent and that she was going to put her two cents into everything. The first things they had to do on their trip was rent a car and so they went to Budget and when Andy asks for a small SUV his mother corrects him and told the Budget salesman that they wanted a more energy efficient car instead. Andy could not believe that his mother was going against him. The Budget salesman said that a smaller car does save on gas and agreed with his mother that it was the better choice and this only got Andy angry. His mother whispers to Andy to ask for a discount and, knowing that Andy was not going to say anything, she looks in her wallet for a coupon and hands the coupon over and this just embarrasses Andy even more. The car that they got was a tiny Smart car and this car was the start of everything going down hill for Andy. A very funny scene was when they were sitting in the waiting area in the office of a client that Andy was seeing who might buy his product while his mom was making too much noise and could not sit still and when he was called in she started fixing his hair and licked her figures to smooth out his eye brows. Andy was shocked at what his mom was doing and waved back saying, “have a nice day, mama and it was good meeting you mama” so the lady who brought him in would not think that he was there with his controlling mother. Andy’s mother made him feel like he was a little kid. Their car trip continues and it is funny seeing a man of Andy’s size fit into a tiny smart car but he goes along with it not to upset his mother and trying to please her. After every client and head of these major department stores with whom Andy has sales meetings, his mother asks how they went. Andy lies and says that he thinks he got that one and they are going to be in touch and will probably buy his product. This excites his mother but it was not true and not one company liked his product. Andy was totally bummed but did not want to face his mother and tell her the truth so he put a smile on his face and off they went on to the next client that he had an appointment with. Part of the reason why Andy was not making sales was due to the fact that he was totally stressed out from all the aggregation his mother was putting him through. Andy just wanted his mother to get off his back so he could focus on doing his job and so that his mind was sharp to sell. His mother was throwing his “A” game off and this was only if he had any “A” game in the first place but from how he was describing his product it had the potential to be a hit but only if he was not distracted. Andy was very disappointed in himself and was losing his motivation. He had made a couple hundred bottles of this cleaning product and he knew that it could sell only if people really understood what his product was made of so he thought. When giving his demonstrations, Andy talked about the ingredients that he used in his cleaning product and he put those ingredients in front of his client every time but his clients just were not seeing the greatest and uniqueness of his product.

A major scene in the movie was when Andy and his mother stop on the road for dinner at a shack, bar type of restaurant and Andy tells his mother the truth because he could not hide it anymore. He tells his mother that he has not made one sale on their trip and that he did not want to let her down. Andy has no money left and does not know what to do. His mother tries to help him by giving him some advice. First off, she tells him to change the name of the product to something that people can understand and pronounce better. She also tells him that if the product is really good for your skin to prove that to the buyer by pouring it directly on your skin and if it is healthy to ingest then drink the darn thing. Andy does not want to hear what his mother is saying and brushes her suggestions off. Now, at this restaurant there is a deal that if you could eat a piece of meat that could feed 10 people or more in an hour you would win $100 but, if not, then you owed the money. Andy did not want his mother to order that meat but she does to try and win some money for her son since he admitted he was broke. His mother one bite at a time tries extremely hard to finish all of that meat. While eating a man comes up to her and says that he loves a women that can eat like she does. Watch the movie to find out what happens in that scene. When they leave the restaurant that man gives her his number and she tells him that it has been a long time since she has dated and she is honest with him that the thought of her even beginning to date again scared her but he tells her to take his number just in case she changes her mind. Andy looks at his mother in a happy way thanking her for a night that he will surely remember and sees his mother in a different way now. He looks at his mother as a young woman who still has it with the guys and that she is really a special person who he is very lucky to have in his life. For a moment you can see great change between the two of them and the love that they have for each other, that was buried down deep comes out.

They are off to yet another meeting and this one was with Costco. His mother is excited that he has gotten Costco to look at his product and again tries to put her two cents in. The business buyer for Costco comes out and asks Andy who the woman he was with was and he could not say his mother and so on the spot he says she was his business partner. This scene was very awkward and his mother sees that he is not impressing the business buyer at all so she opens up her big mouth and says everything that Andy does not want her to say. She tells the business buyer that they are thinking of changing the name and labels on all the bottles. Andy freaks out and says that he has already made hundreds of bottles and has no more money to spend on making new ones. He tells the business buyer that he has put years of scientific research into this product and that everything is great exactly the way it is. In Andy’s eyes nothing needed to be changed and so they walk away with losing yet another client. He raises his voice to his mother. As they are leaving, he tells her to stay out of things because she is only making them worse and not helping. They surely do have a love hate relationship. One minute everything is fine and, the next minute things are blowing up.

For the next few miles they ride in the car not saying anything to each other until something breaks the ice. Andy asks his mother that when she said that she felt that he moved all the way to California and went to UCLA to simply get away from her and not have to see her, did she really believe that was true? She says nothing to not upset the situation anymore than it already was. Andy says that ever since he was little he told everyone that he wanted to be an organic chemist and his mother shook her head up and down knowing that was true. Andy states that the only reason he went to UCLA was that they have the best programs and where he could get the best degree in his area of study and it had nothing to do with trying to get away from her. That moment his mother was silent for the first time trying to take in what he just said and from the corner of her mouth there was a smile and a twinkle in her eye with the reassurance that her son really did love her after all.

When they get to their second to last destination in Las Vegas, they are finally having a good time. The lights of Las Vegas get his mother all ready to party until in the hotel room when they have a little set back. She tells her son to go to his last destination on his own, but he admits that he has no meeting there and that right after she had told him about her first lover, Andy Margolis, he dialed the company that she said he worked for and tracked him down. He did not think it would have been as easy as it was to find him. His mother cannot believe what her son did and was super upset because she did not tell him that story to see her first lover again but to get closure on it. She storms out of the hotel room and goes back to playing slots. Andy is miserable again but has to get ready for his the last client he is seeing on their trip. Andy is meeting with HSN (Home Shopping Network) and this is his last try to sell his cleaning product. He gives this one everything he has to win the people of this network over. The difference of this meeting from his other meetings was that he had to sell his product live over national television on their network and that made him nervous. However, he used his nervous to his advantage and turned a frightening situation around into one that worked out better than he could have ever hoped. His mother does not come to watch him during this presentation knowing that he did not want her there because she had been an annoying distraction but something happens in this scene that turned everything around and makes their whole trip together worthwhile.

They move on to their last destination in hopes to see Andy Margolis. His mother is scared but agrees to see him again. This scene has a twist that puts a sad and more loving spin on everything. Andy now is seeing his mother as a real woman and not just someone who takes care of him but a woman who had a life before he came along. He sees his mother hurting and this is where all the arguing stops for good. The hostility between them is actually quite funny and that is what the director intended.

Those eight days that Joyce and her son spent together were the best eight days for her life regardless of everything that went wrong. They both will remember that road trip forever and will have those memories to tell others about. Andy now has to go back to his life in California and his mother is going back to her (also the home where Andy grew up) home on New York. Joyce does not want to see her son leave but will go on with her life much happier then before after have gone on that trip. She tells her son that she was lonely in her life but she will not be lonely anymore because she has the greatest son in the whole world to have brought her along with him. “The Guilt Trip” started out as a trip that Andy took his mother along on because he felt guilty about not spending enough time with her and when their trip was all over he surely did not feel guilty at all for taking her. The time they spend together was well spent even with all the problems they had. Andy most likely is going to visit his mother more often and start appreciating her more as well.

Take some time out and spend it with your mother (or father) because you never know the memories you just might make and what you will learn from one another. Life can be hard but, when you have someone to share the ride with, it makes things that much easier to handle. Life is a gift that many of us take for granted and the best gift is knowing that, no matter the hard times and troubles that one might be going through you, can always go back home and mommy (or daddy) will be there. Just like the Jon Bon Jovi song “Who says you can’t go home,” says, “It doesn’t matter where you are, doesn’t matter where you go. If it’s a million miles away or just a mile up the road. Take it in; take it with you when you go. Who says you can’t go home”. Those lyrics ring very true for the overall message of this movie. If you ever thought that if you went back home your parents would not welcome you, then you do not believe in the true power of love and family. This movie proves that at any age you can always go back home even if you are already home.

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This entry was posted on September 4, 2013 by in Movies - Reviews of Recent Movies.
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