An American Pickle (2020) Review – The Pickle Brine Preserved it Perfectly.


An American Pickle is a 2020 American comedy film directed by Brandon Trost, which marks his debut as the director. The film is written by Simon Rich who adapted it from his own short story, “Sell Out.” It stars Seth Rogen in a double role, and the major part of the story centers around him.

The film tells the story of an Ashkenazi Jew, Herschel Greenbaum played by Seth Rogan, who falls in a large tub of pickles in the 1920s and wakes up 100 years later, in modern-day New York. Distressed about the fact that he has no living relative in this modern world, Herschel gets hysterical but finally finds his last remaining descendent, his great-grandson, Ben Greenbaum, also played by Seth Rogan. What lies ahead, is a cat and mouse fight of cultural indifferences and ideologies which is kind of fun, at some moments in the film.

Tickly-Prickly Premise, but Quickly forgets it’s Promise

The film starts with chucklesome sequences that titillate your funny bone and grab your attention instantly. Seth Rogen’s poker face comedy and some hilarious dialogues in these first few sequences stay with you for the rest of the film, while one tries to find more such moments later, but there are hardly any of them. It feels like the beginning of the film was given all the attention and the jokes, and then was totally forgotten that it was a comedy film. The choices in the film became convenient after a point, which makes the premise flat and dry.

Scenes of the 1920s had a feeling of realism in its comedy but it quickly turned spoofish and thus lacked any of the promises it made earlier, particularly the transition from 1920 to 2020. It was argued in the film, that Pickle Brine protected the body Herschel Greenbaum from any signs of aging or time, giving Captain America vibes, but in an unrealistic way, which robbed away all the logic the film could have protected if the scenes would have executed differently.

It’s been one hundred years. The pickle brine preserved him perfectly.

Herschel vs. Ben – Collision of Beliefs

The first introduction of Herschel with his great-grandson Ben inflicts some funny and cute moments in the film. Through the Collision of Beliefs, Thinking, and Ways of living – Brandon Trost has tried to deliver a great message centering around the thought that, “We should try to overcome the conservative beliefs of society, but that doesn’t mean that we forget our roots completely.” It beautifully explores the shortcomings of both the past and the future, establishing the fact that we used to value things, but now have lost respect for everything.

Religion had us compassionate, technology made us cynical. Religion made us dependent, Technology liberated us.

The film tries to attack American standards and belief systems but fails to create the same impact as Sacha Cohen’s Borat, where the satirical comedy made you fall off your seat.

If you are looking for a feel-good entertaining movie, with a barrel of few laughs, that you can watch without investing much of your grey cells, then An American Pickle is a must-watch. The film has been single-handedly embellished by Seth Rogan’s incredible performance which should not be missed.

An American Pickle is the first original film released by HBO-Max both digitally and theatrically in 2020. It is streaming on HBO Max right now.

Herschel Greenbaum: This is what we’re reaching for everybody. This is the dream. This is the goal. Perfect jar of pickles.

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Shikhar Agrawal
Shikhar Agrawal
I am an Onstage Dramatist and a Screenwriter. I have been working in the Indian Film Industry for the past 12 years, writing dialogues for various films and television shows.

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