There are few actresses iconic enough that they can be identified by first name alone: Judy, Grace, Marilyn…and Barbra. Yet while the others met tragic ends, Streisand is still going strong. Funny Girl (1968, 2 hrs., 35 mins., G), her first film, and The Guilt Trip (2012, 1 hr., 35 mins., PG-13), her most recent, both hit Blu-ray this week, sandwiching the career of a star whose Hollywood forays constitute only a fraction of her résumé. The singer had plenty of practice playing dauntless Ziegfeld girl Fanny Brice in the Broadway version of Funny Girl before her film debut. Still, it’s amazing how cinematic her screen performance is, as she acts through standards like ”People” and ”Don’t Rain on My Parade” rather than just belting them out. The film is a bit bloated and flouncy — a work of overproduction that was already old for its time — but as the engine that keeps the train running, the 26-year-old Streisand is riveting. She fully deserved the Best Actress Oscar she shared with Katharine Hepburn, the patrician opposite of her Brooklyn brassiness.
That in-your-face persona is taken to its teeth-gritting extreme in The Guilt Trip, in which she plays an overbearing mother accompanying her inventor son (Seth Rogen) on a neurotic road trip. The two have decent chemistry, but there’s more shtick than surprises on this long drive. Not to rain on Streisand’s parade, but unlike her early work, the movie just sits and putters. Neither disc has outstanding EXTRAS, unless you want to know how Babs pretended to eat a 50-ounce steak for her Guilt Trip role. Funny Girl: B+ The Guilt Trip: C