Seth Rogen may be well known for his stoner comedies, but this latest effort in HBO Max’s An American Pickle is one of the star’s best films in years. Released in UK cinemas this Friday, the comedy-drama sees the 38-year-old play both lead characters. Based on screenwriter Simon Rich’s short story Sell Out, An American Pickle follows Herschel Greenbaum, an Eastern European ditch digger, who immigrates to New York City with his wife in 1920.
Through the opening’s beautiful use of old-timey aspect ratio and colours, we follow the struggling worker as he tries to provide for his pregnant spouse.
Luckily, Herschel manages to get a job in a pickle factory dealing with its rat infestation, but then suddenly falls into a vat and is brined for 100 years.
Perfectly persevered like Captain America, he is awoken in 2020 Brooklyn where he finds his great-grandson (also played by Rogen), Ben Greenbaum.
What manifests is a hilarious fish-out-of-water comedy, as Herschel comes to terms with the modern world and Ben wrestles with his family’s heritage.
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The most obvious difference between the two Rogens is the role religion plays in their lives.
Herschel is a practicing Jew, who is devastated to find the Greenbaum family grave site in poor shape and sets out to purchase the land.
While Ben is a secular hipster, who has been working on an app for the last five years.
Without going into spoilers, the pair lock horns over their various different outlooks on life, but perhaps they are actually more similar than they think.
To have an actor talking to himself for most scenes throughout an entire movie looks quite the feat.
But Brandon Trost, in his solo directorial debut, makes it look effortless.
You very quickly forget the Rogen on Rogen set-up, as the star convinces you you really are watching two different relatives.
Showing off his acting chops expertly, here’s hoping this isn’t the last of Rogen’s dramedies of this ilk.