*For all my Mensches out there!
An immigrant worker falls into a vat of pickles and is brined for 100 years. The brine preserves him perfectly, and when he emerges in present day Brooklyn, he finds that he hasn’t aged a day.
Eddie Murphy, Lindsay Lohan, Mike Meyers, Peter Sellers and the list goes on of the actors who have given great performances as multiple characters in a movie. That list is joined now by Seth Rogen, the boisterous comedian who also wrote the movie with his writing partner Evan Goldberg. Aforementioned movie is An American Pickle, a new comedy on HBO Max that feels like Rogen’s most personal film to date.
The reason it feels so personal, is that the story is a lot about his feelings and life as a Jewish man. That is reflected in both his characters Herschel and Ben Greenbaum. Herschel we meet in the early 1900’s and he works in a pickle factory. One day he falls into a pickle container and is brined for 100 years completely preserved. He wakes up, and after explaining away the science real quick, he meets his only relative Ben. Of course, there are growing pains for Herschel living in this new world but him and Ben quickly bond over trying to help him understand the future. This is quickly interrupted though when Ben is jealous of Herschel’s fame.
That is where the movie decides to become a social commentary on Cancel Culture and basically lost me. I understand that our world we live in is a place where if you say one wrong thing you are cancelled forever, but this story is just way too ham fisted. I enjoyed the fish out of water aspect, however it feels like it was taken a bit too far and destroyed the momentum of the comedy. I think the biggest factor is that the movie felt like it just did not play by the rules of the universe it created, which no matter how ridiculous the concept as long as you stay in the lane of the universe it works.
Stock Neutral – Seth Rogen
I actually think he gives a fantastic performance as both characters in this story. He also said in an interview that he filmed the entire movie bearded, then shaved and filmed the entire movie again without the beard as Ben. That is dedication and it showed with his great chops. I just think the movie isn’t quite strong enough for his stock to rise anymore than it already has.
Who’s That Guy/Gal?
Sarah Snook – 36 IMDB Acting Credits
*A couple other tidbits
- None of the story really worked because it never mentioned the fact that Herschel should be the most famous person on the planet.
- I like the aspect ratio shifts between the old world and the new.
- This is an extremely Jewish movie that of course I loved.
I think this is a good movie for a streaming service to have, but I just think there is too much in the second half of this movie that does not work. It feels like the story just goes off the rails and it forgets the essence of the story which should be about these two long lost family members coming together. Instead we got another example of Cancel Culture in the media that we see on a daily basis.
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