Who would have thought that Seth Rogen and Barbara Streisand could make a touching film about family and life? I admit, I didn’t think they could; but the movie did actually deliver.
Why the low hopes? Mainly due to Rogen (Green Hornet, 50/50), who has consistently disappointed me in major roles; though he’s often good in supporting spots. What is clear is that a director makes all the difference for Rogen. Fletcher (The Proposal, 27 Dresses) kept him tightly controlled and understated. I believed him and felt empathy rather than wanting to hit him upside the head, which is my typical response.
As his mother, Streisand manages to create an older woman who adores her son… to the point of smothering, but with good intentions. You can see how Rogen’s character would eventually come to terms with that and put up with her meddling and comments. It is her exuberance that actually sells it all for the movie and keeps it from becoming too absurd. She is always trying to do the right thing and is often correct, something Rogen eventually understands, even as he understands that she needs more in her life than she’s even willing to admit.
The story is fun without being too absurd and uplifting without getting too saccharine. As a light comedy with a little emotion, it is a good evening.