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An American Pickle Is a Classic Immigrant Story, Except for the Pickle Thing

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Seth Rogen opposite... Seth Rogen.
Seth Rogen opposite... Seth Rogen.
Image: HBO Max

We’ve all heard the story. A family comes from the old country. They work hard. They hope. They dream. One of them… gets preserved in pickle brine.

An American Pickle, Seth Rogen’s latest film and an unexpected wrinkle in the continuum of pickle-related science fiction memes, is an extraordinarily odd creature. A fish-out-of-water comedy, it stars Seth Rogen in two roles: Herschel Greenbaum, a Jewish American immigrant who gets preserved in pickle brine in 1920, emerging alive but somehow not pickled in 2020, and Ben Greenbaum, his only surviving kin, a great-grandson who codes. Directed by Brandon Trost, the film is based on a novella by Simon Rich, with the screenplay also written by Rich.

Does this movie look any good? You know, probably not. But there’s something compelling about such an absurd premise being played out on screen in a relatively earnest fashion. It promises an adventure of pickles, familial love, and maybe some hope for the future. Alongside Rogen, the film stars Maya Erskine, Sarah Snook, and Eliot Glazer.


Distribution rights to An American Pickle were picked up by HBO Max, and it’ll be coming to the platform on August 6, 2020.


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