Rogen pulls double duty in 'American Pickle'

"An American Pickle" is a disarmingly sweet fable cut with just enough salty satire to satisfy. Seth Rogen, looking and sounding like an audition to play Tevye in a stage run of "Fiddler on the Roof," stars as Herschel, a Jewish immigrant to the United States at the turn of the 20th century chasing the dream. In a riff on the Rip Van Winkle story, he falls in a pickle vat, gets sealed up, and awoken a century later. (The pickle brine preserved him... or something). Fortunately, Herschel has a great great grandson named Ben, also played by Rogen.The actor playing both roles is often done old school with doubles shot over the shoulder, which adds to the movie's charm. The fish-out-of water stuff with Herschel in the 21st century is fun, but the movie has a warm, sweet center of faith and family. The story itself is a bit flimsy with Herschel becoming famous for selling dirty food to "bougie" Millennials because it's "all natural: and being called brave for saying out-of-date things.These are easy jabs to take. But the real reason to see "An American Pickle" is because it has a good heart and Rogen is quite good - especially in the cartoon-ish role of Herschel that should feel like a charicature, but ends up feeling authentic. The PG-13 rated comedy is streaming now on HBO MAX



* * * * * Incredible - One of the best of the year* * * * Excellent - Touches greatness with only minor quibbles* * * Good - Plenty to like, definitely worth seeing* * Mediocre - You can do better

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