- Gareth Crook
An American Pickle (2020)
Seth Rogan makes a good Eastern European Jew circa early 1900s. He looks the stereotypical part. Big beard, OTT Russian accent. He’s a ditch digger. Dirt poor, literally. It’s a Rogan film though, so of course it’s silly, with Herschel Greenbaum (Rogan) playfully narrating, seeing him and his wife, with all her own teeth, head to America. If it continued in this vein, I might be onboard, but... well it’s not going to is it. No, Herschel falls in a vat in a pickle factory and is inexplicably pickled, only to be discovered and reanimated 100 years later in modern Brooklyn. Oh dear. Herschel is alone in a scary new world, full of crazy new adventures. He’s accompanied in these by his great great grandson Ben, also played by Rogan (sans beard). I don’t really like Rogan. Two of him at once is a bit much. Herschel gets to experience Alexa, cabs, fizzy water. None of it is remotely funny. There’s a mildly interesting thread about how Judaism differs for different people and the relevance of religion in modern culture, but I’m projecting really, trying to find some worth. Anyway, for Herschel religion is his world. For Ben, well he couldn’t care less. After oh I don’t know, a day or two, they fall out. Partly over Ben’s lack of faith, partly due to Herschel ruining Ben’s none existent app developing career. Herschel sets up a pickling business, obviously and becomes internet famous thanks to a load of hipsters in Williamsburg. This pisses Ben off and... oh dear god what the hell am I watching. I’m watching Seth Rogan fight with himself! Then it tries to get all post-modern with a commentary on hateful online culture, as Herschel discovers Twitter and becomes a far right poster boy, gets Ben deported and blah blah blah. It goes on with this ridiculousness for 90 minutes, with the predictable redemptive ending. I can’t bring myself to say any more, I just want to forget it and never speak of it again.