An American Pickle – Review

Director: Brandon Trost

Writer(s): Simon Rich

Cast: Seth Rogen, Seth Rogen

Synopsis: An immigrant worker at a pickle factory is accidentally preserved for 100 years and wakes up in modern day Brooklyn.

The multiple roles gimmick hardly ever works. Not only does it never really work, it also produces some of the absolute worst films known to cinema. Think Norbit, Madea, Sextuplets, and absolute worst of all, Jack and Jill. Now this style of movie isn’t a guaranteed failure completely however. Mike Meyers humored us with it in his Austin Powers franchise, Jordan Peele terrified us with it in his horror hit Us, and Charlie Chaplin gave two of the best performances of his highly regarded career in The Great Dictator. However, while there have been some incredible movies to incorporate the dual roles, overall the strategy is batting fairly low when it comes to success.

An American Pickle' Review | Hollywood Reporter

Luckily the use of dual characters in An American Pickle never fully detracted from what the film was trying to accomplish. Yes, it takes a long time to really get to the point the movie was trying to show us, and even when it does get there it is sort of thrown in our faces, but it is executed well enough because the charm and charisma that Seth Rogen brings to the screen.

And that charm and charisma Seth brings to both roles is what drives this movie forward. There aren’t really any other characters in the movie with any value other than Rogen, but he is able to really pull out two very different performances in this one movie. There is a struggle between each character that can really be felt in the movie. This can be attested to a fairly clever script that might not always work, but is nonetheless unique.

The biggest issue the writing faces in this movie is in the plot. There is a commentary on society, as there is with everything, but it manages to take far too long to get to that point. When we do get there, it becomes easily digestible and understandable, even if it is thrown in your face a bit, but it also manages to happen far too fast. It reminded me of an episode of South Park, and I almost would’ve rather enjoyed it as an episode of that, or a similar show. If it would’ve harped in on the commentary in a quicker fashion, I think this movie could’ve been much better.

But, the meat of the story we got is in family and that is what they really got right. The family structure in the movie brought a sort of emotionally arc that I never would have expected. Everything Herschel did, you could understand why he was so passionate. He might have been a product of his time socially, but you could really understand why he did everything he did. I am not going to sit here and say this is an emotional force, but there is a heart to this movie that I truly did not see coming.

Final: An American Pickle is a quick and easy movie that definitely won’t feel like 100 years in pickle brine. Seth Rogen’s charm definitely shows, and while this movie isn’t anything special, it is a decent stream on HBO Max.

An American Pickle - PosterSpy

My Score:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Current Tomato Score: 74%

Current Metacritic: 60

Current IMDb: 5.5/10

Awards Prospects: None

2020 Rankings

Jacob is a film critic and co-founder of the Music City Drive-In. He is a member of the Music City Film Critics’ Association and specializes in the awards season. You can find him on Twitter @Tberry57.

Jacob is a film critic and co-founder of the Music City Drive-In. He is a member of the Music City Film Critics’ Association and specializes in the awards season. You can find him on Twitter @Tberry57.

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