Old stereotypes die hard — especially when Barbra Streisand’s working them like a Shabbos elevator on Saturday.
The two-time Oscar winner popped onto the Internet Wednesday in a preview of her latest movie, a comedy called “The Guilt Trip” co-starring Seth Rogen. In the film, the two-time Oscar winner plays the elder half of a mother-son duo, evidently accompanying the “Knocked Up” actor as his character drives across the US.
Relatively few details have been released about the film, scripted by “Crazy Stupid Love” writer Dan Fogelman. The central pair’s last name is Brewster, according to IMDB, but it’s pretty clear they’re Jewish — especially when Streisand’s talking, which is for most of the scene.
While “The Guilt Trip” may prove hilarious — and why shouldn’t it? — we’re struck by the anachronistic shtick apparently still so beloved by the machers in Hollywood. As someone born a month before Rogen, I have literally never heard one of my friends’ mothers refer to them as “tataleh,” or worry about rerouting her mail before heading out of town. For me, at least, the portrayal seems to be from another era — perhaps it’s Streisand paying tribute to her own mother, or even her grandmother.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Based on this brief first clip, the depiction seems perfectly sweet and loving, and the side-by-side casting of Rogen and Streisand seems inspired. (As does the film’s release date of Christmas Day — crafty theater owners may want to consider including Chinese food in the price of admission.)
But it’s interesting to observe how certain Jewish stereotypes live on, decades and perhaps even generations after they’re accurate. We’re thinking here of Judd Hirsch’s self-proclaimed “shlemiel” in “Independence Day,” and Howard Wolowitz’s unseen and completely dreadful Jewish mother on TV’s “The Big Bang Theory.” Perhaps a few people like this still exist, but frankly, we’re dubious.
In any case, Streisand and Rogen are nearly always fun, and we’re intrigued about how they’ll do together onscreen. Let’s hope “The Guilt Trip” proves an enjoyably guilty pleasure.