An American Pickle is a HBO Max Original film that provides a dual performance from Seth Rogen. The concept actually works here, and it’s definitely a surprising showcase of two perspectives. The story starts with Herschel, as he moves from the old country and ends up dealing with a particular pickling situation. Some time passes, and when he’s brought back quickly he ends up being connected with his latest living relative, Ben.
The two of them awkwardly joke about the changes of time, and through a series of events start competing against one another. It’s an interesting evolution that digs deep into the modern culture, and has just a small dash of reflective heart to it. This aspect sort of makes the conclusion trail off a tad, but overall it was a fun watch. It provided some laughs, bizarre moments and the escalating conflict was somewhat of a joy to take in. It also has that softer spot as I had mentioned, as the two deal with split perspectives of time.
It’s fun to see how they play up those concepts, and how some older ideas might be having a resurgence within the modern era. Those aspects certainly made sense, and were fun to see in action. It’s not the deepest of narratives, but I think it had some decent meaning to it that helped elevate the film to be something more special than a typical duo role.
I thought the acting was generally well done. Rogen played both sides differently, so that they somewhat feel like different individuals. There’s not a whole lot of difference, but adjusted mannerisms did help.
They do also play around with the idea of them being so similar, as these types of films typically do. It was also neat to see Rogen in a performance that felt different from his other material. It’s nothing too over the top in terms of how it’s presented, and a largely intimate showcase.
You do get some bigger moments, as the pickle business certainly can reach large heights. Still, it never goes too wild in terms of scale, which makes sense for this picture. There really aren’t too many additional cast members to cover, since they’re largely brief roles. That makes this essentially just a one man show.
An American Pickle was a generally solid comedy, one that had more of a heart to it leaning towards that dramatic angle. I found that it did sort of trail off, but that also was meant to provide something more emotionally bright.
I thought the execution of that part could have been handled better, to have a deeper impact. Still, it had some decent messaging and some straight up bizarre circumstances. It’s an odd movie, that’s for sure. At the same time, something unique and that’s a hard thing to do at this point.
The duo portrayals worked fine here, and it was a pleasant surprise to see this different style from someone that’s very much known for a very specific type of presentation. The pickle of that country is strong, and it’s a business that just doesn’t seem to quit apparently. It’s also hilarious how the ideas of the past can have some relevance today, particularly for a laugh or two.
An American Pickle Review at Home with Streamed Viewing