The Guilt Trip
Opened December 19, 2012
Plot: Andy Brewster (Seth Rogen) is about to embark on the road trip of a lifetime, and who better to accompany him than his overbearing mother Joyce (Barbra Streisand). After deciding to start his adventure with a quick visit at mom's, Andy is guilted into bringing her along for the ride. Across 3,000 miles of ever-changing landscape, he is constantly aggravated by her antics, but over time he comes to realize that their lives have more in common than he originally thought. His mothers advice might end up being exactly what he needs.
Principles: Anne Fletcher (27 Dresses, The Proposal) directs; Dan Fogelman (Crazy, Stupid, Love, Tangled, Bolt and Cars) wrote the screenplay; Playing Barbra's son in the movie is Seth Rogen (Knocked Up, Pineapple Express, and The Green Hornet); and the director of photography is Oliver Stapleton (Cider House Rules, The Shipping News, The Proposal).
The Guilt Trip was filmed May 2, 2011 through July 14, 2011 in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
Paramount changed the title of the film from My Mother's Curse to The Guilt Trip in February 2012.
Writer Dan Fogelman told The Jewish Journal that My Mother's Curse is “completely about my mom.” Fogelman's mother, also named Joyce, died at age 60 a few years ago. “I took a cross-country road trip with my mother four years ago, before she got sick, as research for a film I wanted to do about a mother and son going on [such a] trip together,” Fogelman said. “We drove from New Jersey to Vegas, so it was basically being locked in a car with your mom for two weeks.
“The autobiographical parts of the movie are two-fold: One, the character Barbra plays—not her story, but her character type—is very much based on my mom. She collects frogs almost religiously (my mom had always collected frogs); she’s obsessive about drinking six bottles of water a day and about Weight Watchers; and she’s got a group of yenta friends that she relies on heavily—that kind of stuff. And then the road trip itself is very much modeled after things that happened to my mom and I on the road. Like, we didn’t think that it would snow in Tennessee, but it did and we got stuck in a blizzard.
“The movie’s theme is basically when you discover that your parent isn’t just a parent but is actually a human being who had a life before you, and the same goes for a mother or a father. It’s the point in their lives when they realize their child is actually a grownup and they have got to let go a little bit.
“My mom and I were exceptionally close and I really, really dug her. But I couldn’t necessarily start in that place at the beginning of the movie, or the characters would have nowhere to go. So creative liberties were taken with the relationships, as in any movie.”
Rogen summed up the movie for USA Today: “It's a story about a guy who is trying to not be really annoyed by his mother all the time.”
Director Anne Fletcher pursued Streisand (mostly by phone meetings) for a year before signing to play Joyce. “Barbra has a very full life,” Fletcher explained. “But I didn't want to do this with anyone else. Not only did I need her as a director, but her fans needed to see her in something like this.”
And as for filming Streisand, “I told her, 'There isn't going to be a magic lens for you,'” Fletcher said. “She is breathtakingly beautiful with a gorgeous body. But she had to wear shleppy mom clothes. Moms of this generation still style their hair and wear makeup, but they want comfort. We had to erase Barbra out of it.”
As for why she chose this film to direct, Fletcher stated, “It's a love letter to my mom, with all the things I couldn't say to her face.”
“Barbra was one of the reasons I was interested,” Rogen confessed. “If she wasn't in it, I probably wouldn't have done it with someone else. She is going to kill me for saying this, but when you meet her, she acts like a lot of Jewish mothers. I think she is the blueprint for every Jewish mother I've met over the last 30 years.”
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