An American Pickle review by Bobby Blakey
One of the busiest guys in Hollywood is writer/actor Seth Rogen. I have been a fan for years and know that some don’t like him, but there is no denying the man takes on a variety of interesting projects. His latest, An American Pickle is yet another that was due for theatrical release but was picked up to be the first feature on HBO MAX. The film features Seth Rogen in dual roles with The Diaster Artist cinematographer and The FP director Brandon Trost at the helm. Could this film bring yet another great film to Rogen’s filmography or is it worth getting pickled?
An American Pickle follows a simple Jewish man named Herschel Greenbaum who works in a pickle factory in Brooklyn. One day he falls into a vat of brine and stays there, perfectly preserved, for 100 years. He comes back to life and goes to stay with his great-great-grandson, Ben, in contemporary Brooklyn. As silly as this premise is it works really well. Sure you have to buy into the aspect of him being preserved for 100 years which is cleverly explained away without telling you anything. This was the perfect way to deal with this because the whole thing is only the catalyst to the bigger story which is so much deeper than I really expected.
Of course there are some funny elements here including an ongoing shovel gag at the beginning of the film that had me laughing each time, but there is more here. The story uses the fish out of water aspect to dealing with so many things from cancel culture, social media, religion and more. Yes it actually takes you on a journey of discovery for both of these characters and it works to perfection. More often than not actors taking on dual roles doesn’t work so well, but Rogen knocks it out of the park. He has so much to offer for both characters that had to be hard to work through with them not only being from different time periods but completely opposites.
It spends the beginning setting the tone for Herschel and his situation that brings laughs and a love story before leading into some heart felt moments and struggle dealing with his new world and family. They spend quite a bit of time
apart in the film which then shifts the focus to essentially two separate journey’s that are destined to crash into each other eventually. Big props to Rogen for really going all in with not only an epic beard, but nailing the accent and dialect or at least appeared to since I don’t speak any of it myself.
Sure I am a hardcore fan and love pretty much everything Rogen has done, but I think this film is excellent and so much more than what the description leads you to believe. Gone is the recognizable laugh and weed this time around and in its place great performances and a fun engaging story. Stick through the credits for a fun scene that is not only perfect for the movie but also harkens back to another of his films that I thought was great as well.
Check out An American Pickle streaming exclusively now on HBO MAX.