Title – An American Pickle (2020)
Director – Brandon Trost (feature debut)
Cast – Seth Rogen, Sarah Snook, Molly Evensen, Jorma Taccone
Plot – Preserved in a vat of pickles in New York in the early 1900’s, Jewish immigrant Herschel Greenbaum (Rogen) reemerges into modern day society where he meets his last living relative Ben (also Rogen) who he finds disappointment in when he learns his not a successful businessman or family man.
“This is what we’re reaching for everybody. This is the dream”
Review by Eddie on 21/09/2020
Released in America direct to streaming via the HBO max service, An American Pickle gives Seth Rogen the most his had to work with over the last few years in a dual role job that allows the funnyman to deliver one of his best singular performances in a film that would’ve benefited from a tighter focus and more belly laughs.
With well and truly one of the years most outlandish premises, a Jewish immigrant awakens after years upon years of laying in a state of suspended reality due to being incarcerated into a vat of pickles only to discover his last living relative is a wannabe APP developer failure with no prospects or family, Pickle embraces its utterly over the top nature and allows Rogen to get his hands dirty as both the old school Herschel and the modern day Ben but there’s never a feeling like we are watching a new comedy classic in the making.
Directed by D.O.P by trade Brandon Trost in what acts as his feature debut, Pickle enlist’s the help of screenwriter Simon Rich to bring his short story to life but in doing so you can sense the film struggled to find its real identity or vocal point as it wavers between drama, comedy and family centric tale with a sense that a more improvised or loose vibe would’ve helped the film that goes from depressing to bonkers often in the space of mere minutes of screentime.
What at first appears to be a fish out of water tale and mismatched buddy affair gives way to a more scheming comedy as Herschel and Ben try to one up each other in a battle of wits and business smarts and while this at times provide Rogen with some great little moments, such as selling pickles on the sidewalks of New York or getting himself in trouble at public Q and A sessions, there’s a sense that we are just watching a series of skits and ideas play out other than a fully formed plotline that would’ve helped elevate this quickfire affair to another level.
One undoubted positive about this exercise that has its share of good little moments is the dual performance of its leading man.
After a few so-so years in mostly forgettable exercises, Rogen is as good as his ever been in a leading role with his ability to neatly play off against himself as the brash Herschel and the more mild mannered Ben provides the film with many of its most enjoyable comedic moments.
Final Say –
A fun, forgettable and unfocused comedy that has a lot of nice ideas that never get time to play out the way you’d have hoped, An American Pickle is an enjoyable watch but one that won’t stick in the memory for very long.
3 unsanitary jars of pickles out of 5