I would like to believe that about a decade ago, author Simon Rich was watching Marvel’s Captain America: The First Avenger while eating pickles when suddenly creativity struck. What if, instead of being stuck in ice from the early 20th century to modern-day, Steve Rogers had instead been brined in pickle juice?! Also, it wasn’t super-soldier American hero Steve Rogers, but rather a lowly ditch-digging Eastern European immigrant who had a mishap at a New York pickle factory! He’s not just a man out of time… No, this is also a man out of brine! And thus Rich went off to write his novel Sell Out (I hope).
Now, seven years after publishing, Rich is adapting his own weird story to screen in American Pickle for HBO Max. The upcoming dramedy stars Seth Rogen as Herschel Greenbaum, the struggling immigrant labourer who wakes up in 2020, his entire life – and young wife – gone after he accidentally fell into a vat of pickles 100 years earlier and was somehow perfectly preserved. The movie also stars… Seth Rogen as Ben Greenbaum, Herschel’s stuck-in-a-rut great-grandson and only surviving relative, who is definitely not the legacy Ben intended to leave behind. What a pickle!
Check out the trailer below:
This looks… Well, it looks weird. Rogen’s frequent cinematographer Brandon Trost is directing here, and if his name sounds familiar it’s because, along with his brother Jason, Trost was the guy who gave us The FP. Remember that weird comedy about a post-apocalyptic future where rival gangs battled for territory and resources by challenging each other in a deadly version of Dance Dance Revolution? Darryn loves that movie which tells you everything you need to know about how weird Trost can get. But unlike The FP, American Pickle also looks pretty damn charming and bittersweet.
Originally this film was supposed to be released by Sony theatrically, but those plans got scuppered by the pandemic which is how it ended up on HBO Max. And I think this may have been a better outcome as this would never have been a film that played to huge cinema audiences. Now, as part of a streaming subscription, a lot more people will take a chance on watching an oddball flick like this.
American Pickle is set to debut on HBO Max on 6 August.
Last Updated: July 6, 2020