CREDIT: YouTube Screenshot

Starring: Seth Rogen, Sarah Snook

Director: Brandon Trost

Running Time: 89 Minutes

Rating: PG-13

Release Date: August 6, 2020 (HBO Max)

I recently started a review strategy in which I determine the success of a movie according to whether or not it makes me want to do the thing that it’s about. So I asked of Eurovision Song Contest: did it make me want to watch the actual Eurovision? And now I ask of An American Pickle: does it make me want to become pickled and wake up without having aged a day one hundred years later?

To which I answer! … Maybe, kind of?

I’m pretty sure that’s not how the pickling of humans works, but hey, this is a fantasy, so let’s roll with it! The movie certainly does. Seth Rogen is basically the perfect choice to capture that vibe as he plays opposite himself as his great-grandfather and goes, “Hey dude! You’ve just woken up in the future! How crazy is that?!”

Rip Van Winkle-style stories tend to play up the confusion of the man out of time, but Herschel Greenbaum, the titular pickled man, figures out a way to get along more easily than most. Which just goes to prove my suspicion that people from any time period understand that life in the past used to be different and that life in the future will also be different. With that perspective in mind, I believe I could be resilient enough to get on with an unexpected time leap, just as Herschel is. But also like Herschel, I would be quite emotional over not being able to see my kids and grandkids grow up. Pickles are great, but they’re not a panacea!

Grade: 3 Pickles out of 5 Glasses of Seltzer Water