Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Netflix NON-Recommendation of The Month

Hey, if I can tell you movies you should put on your Netflix queue, why shouldn't I let you know when there are films that should be avoided like the plague?

So,  I am.  Here's your plague alert.  "The Guilt Trip" is locusts, the bird flu, and a Kardashian film festival all wrapped up in one.  Watch this movie and you could go blind.  

How's that for a heads up?

I felt victim to this infection when I remembered the words of some alleged friends last December who saw this in theaters during its original Christmas release.  I can only assume that most of them had lousy holidays because I can't imagine how this mess brightened anybody's spirits.  

Trust me.  It's no better in June.

I'm thinking out loud about the pitch meeting for "The Guilt Trip" as probably conducted by Paramount's marketing department.

"Let's do a movie that covers all age groups.  A buddy movie where two people travel across the country.  Everybody likes those.  And we'll get Seth Rogan for the 21-40 crowd.  The we'll sign Barbra Streisand for the 50 t0 cremation age group.  Wow.  We'll print money."

Nowhere in that meeting was a script mentioned.  Because, from what I could see and hear, there was none in this film.  It might have been all improvised.  Or maybe somebody just miked Barbra during a mahjong round robin at her Malibu Beth Shalom Temple.  There's hardly a second of originality or humor in this sewer backup.

Don't get me wrong.  There's a germ of a good idea here and one that I personally could have a field day with.  An only child dealing with his now widowed mother late in life.  Trying to forge a new bond as the sole survivors of a family.  I could pull notes from my life and have twenty pages done by the morning.

But neither screenwriter Dan Fogelman or director Anne Fletcher have bothered to mine anything from their own experiences or mine.  What results is a movie that rings false from top to bottom.  With unbelievable situations that just wouldn't happen in real life.  Would this young man, a failure in work and love, saddle himself with a yapping old broad in a subcompact for a  cross country business trip?  My eyes rolled five times just by writing that sentence.

To demonstrate just how ridiculous "The Guilt Trip" is, a major set piece about two-thirds into the film finds Barbra and son in a Texas steak house.  To get a free meal in a contest, she commits to eating a 50 ounce side of beef within one hour.  Naturally, I hoped she would be successful if nothing else but to have her die of a coronary embolism and thereby shorten the film by forty-five minutes.  If that's the big comedy scene in your movie, you need to leave film making immediately and head to the very next Starbucks job fair.

And, oddly enough, that's not the worst thing about "The Guilt Trip."  The real assassins are the stars of the swill, who spend most of the film yelling at one another.  In this movie, the acting coach is the guy who had his hand on the volume control.  Because all the creative choices by the cast are based on how loud they can raise their voices.

I never have any use for Seth Rogan, who, as a talent, is a mystery that even Erle Stanley Gardner couldn't dream up.  For half the film, he actually sounds like Yogi Bear trying to do an impression of Laurence Olivier doing "Hamlet."  After "The Guilt Trip," I like Rogan even less and I didn't think that was possible.

As for Miss Barbra, her acting talents diminished about three Democratic Presidential administrations ago.  She used to be much more than passable.  Check out her very best work way back in the early 70s when she starred in "What's Up, Doc?"  Sheer genius.  But, as time wore on, she became less the actress and more the personality in her roles.  Now it's not Streisand portraying a psychiatrist in "Prince of Tides."  It's the shrink just happens to be Barbra Streisand.  Her persona sucks the air out of every movie she's done in the last twenty years.  She doesn't act.  She simply shows up on a sound stage.  But, she keeps getting parts.  Probably because she wants to escape the house and lummox/hubby James Brolin's afternoon flatulence.

No matter where you turn with "The Guilt Trip," you wind up at a cinematic dead end.  But the best thing about renting this is you can easily be diverted away to do other things while the movie drones on in the background.  

Like folding your laundry.

Or relining kitchen cabinets.

Or power washing the windows.

Trust me.  You haven't missed a thing.

And here's how you know the film makers responsible had no clue what they were making.  You don't have to wait for the DVD to see the deleted scenes that didn't wind up in the finished product.  No, these idiots actually run them across the closing credits.  

Scenes that got cut out of a horrible movie because they didn't work. 

Gee, how could they tell?

Dinner last night:  Chopped Italian antipasto salad.


Anonymous said...

A K A "Two Jews In A Car"

Anonymous said...

Second draft: "Two Unbearable Jews In A Car"