In the early 20th century, Jewish immigrant Herschel Greenbaum (Seth Rogen) is accidentally knocked into a vat of brine at the Brooklyn pickle factory where he works. Preserved for a century, he is awakened in the modern-day, when his only living relative is his great-grandson, Ben (also Seth Rogen), a freelance app developer. The tough, stoic, but simple Herschel struggles to make sense of the contemporary world and of his somewhat nebbish descendent, who, in turn, has trouble dealing with his Old-World antecedent.
It’s a comedy, see? Of course it is — a guy is preserved in pickle juice for a century and the explanation is handwaved away with a knowing wink to the audience. But An American Pickle is, despite and sometimes because of its occasional mugging and fourth-wall-breaking, a fairly cerebral and witty comedy with literary roots. Adapted by Simon Rich, Miracle Workers (2019-20), from his own four-part novella, Sell Out, An American Pickle ruminates on notions of history, identity, family, and duty while taking time to sling obvious but accurate stones at hipster culture, online dogpiles, woke business ethics, and more. It’s a blast.