REVIEW: An American Pickle (15) * * *

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REVIEW: An American Pickle (15) * * *

It runs out of sharpened comedic intent, with screenwriter Simon Rich's script packing a decent amount of giggles into 90 minutes.

Seth Rogen as Herschel Greenbaum, who falls into a large vat of brined cucumbers
Seth Rogen as Herschel Greenbaum, who falls into a large vat of brined cucumbers

Time doesn’t heal wounds in director Brandon Trost’s fish out of water comedy, which hopes to woo audiences back into cinemas with not one, but two of Seth Rogen.

That sounds like a good deal if you’re already a fan of the hirsute Canadian star and co-writer of Superbad, Pineapple Express and This Is The End, who has carved out a niche playing slackers and stoners.

In An American Pickle, Rogen plays two generations of the same Jewish bloodline, who are miraculously brought together in present-day Brooklyn thanks to a ludicrous plot device from screenwriter Simon Rich that evokes 1992 comedy Encino Man, which thawed out a Stone Age caveman in the urban jungle of Los Angeles.

Set in 1919, accident-prone Jewish ditch digger Herschel Greenbaum (Rogen) falls deliriously in love with Sarah (Sarah Snook) in his eastern European homeland of Schlupsk.

“She is strong and she has all her teeth – top and bottom,” he coos in voiceover.

The couple marries and Herschel finds work killing rats on the factory floor of the Capital Pickle Co.

A freak industrial accident sends Herschel tumbling into a large vat of brined cucumbers on the same day the premises are condemned.

One hundred years later, Herschel reawakens in saltwater stasis, perfectly preserved without ageing a day.

Seth Rogen stars as both Herschel Greenbaum, (right) and his great-grandson Ben

He meets his great-grandson, freelance mobile app developer Ben (Rogen again), who introduces Herschel to metrosexual 21st-century New York, but the two men eventually come to blows over their heritage and religion.

“It’s a good thing Sarah’s not around anymore. If she was, she’d be ashamed of you,” growls Ben, sowing the seeds of a bitter rivalry that makes news headlines around the globe.

An American Pickle runs out of sharpened comedic intent, but Rich’s script packs a decent amount of giggles into 90 minutes.

  • An American Pickle is released in cinemas across the UK from tomorrow (Friday)
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