The Guilt Trip

(PG-13) ★★★☆☆

Barbra Streisand returns to the big screen here, and the result is not bad. Streisand plays Joyce, the long-widowed mother of inventor Andy (Seth Rogen). Out of guilt, Andy asks Joyce to accompany him on a work trip. The secret mission is to hook up Joyce with a long-lost beau. A tight if formulaic script does well enough, but the performers here do a lot of the lifting. It’s a sweet movie, in its way.

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The first months of the year are known as the “dump months” in Hollywood. It’s a bleak stretch for cinephiles, traditionally packed with movies that studios dislike, and want to release with little fanfare. In the Hollywood ecosystem, the dump months serve an important purpose; not only is winter often a low point for movie revenue, regardless of content (the top-grossing film of January generally earns half of the haul brought in by December’s top grosser), but padding theaters with celluloid sacrifices allows for all-important Oscar coverage to dominate the news cycle.

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