FILM REVIEW | An American Pickle

Seth Rogen's new film is a classic tale.

An impoverished man and his wife travel across the seas from Europe to start a new life in America, the land of opportunity, in the early 1900s.

Soon the man, Herschel Greenbaum, has a factory job and the beginnings of a new life.

However, he falls into a vat of pickle brine where he remains for a century until he is unearthed in the year 2020.

Okay, so maybe An American Pickle isn't your standard triumph-over-adversity story after all.

Rogen plays both Herschel and his great-grandson Ben Greenbaum in dual lead roles in the satirical dramedy.

Double trouble: Seth Rogen stars in dual lead roles as Ben Greenbaum and his recently un-brined great-grandfather Herschel Greenbaum in new satirical dramedy An American Pickle, rated PG, in cinemas now.

Double trouble: Seth Rogen stars in dual lead roles as Ben Greenbaum and his recently un-brined great-grandfather Herschel Greenbaum in new satirical dramedy An American Pickle, rated PG, in cinemas now.

Rogen, as always, is wonderful in both roles.

Like many fish out of water tales, Herschel finds it difficult to adjust to life 100 years on. But it's not the mod-cons and advancements of modern society that has him flummoxed - it's the world's new ways of thinking.

The elder (chronologically) Greenbaum struggles to understand the more tolerant, diverse and progressive views of 2020.

In much the same vain as Citizen Ruth, Herschel becomes the centre of a growing debate - is the 1900s throwback a beacon of free speech an expression, or is he a bigot who deserves to be cancelled?

Cancel culture, the fleeting nature of social media fame, religion, family obligations and grief are all explored in the quirky film.

This is easily one of Seth Rogen's most family-friendly films - a PG rating and absence of crude humour are rarely found in the funnyman's movies.

His work on distinguishing the two roles is also commendable.

Aside from the obvious features to distinguish one Greenbaum from the other - a beard, glasses, attire - Rogen's work on Herschel's accent from the fictional European country of Schlupsk is a big part of building the character.

The pair's differing connections to their Jewish faith is also a major part of the film, and would be familiar to a lot of people with lapsed faith.

While An American Pickle isn't uproariously funny, it's nice to spend a couple of hours with a couple of Seth Rogens - and maybe have a little think as well.

Rating: 7/10

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