Just when I’d written off this summer as one of the bleakest in history, HBO Max dropped the trailer for Seth Rogen's new movie An American Pickle, a film starring two Seth Rogens that looks delightfully weird and heartfelt. The comedy, which debuts on the streamer August 6, is about a 1920s immigrant named Herschel Greenbaum (Rogen) working in a Brooklyn pickle factory, who falls into a vat of brine and is perfectly preserved for 100 years. He wakes up in 2020 and connects with his great-grandson (also played by Rogen) while coming to terms with a century of societal and technological changes.
The movie seems quirky and very funny. Sarah Snook (“Shiv” Roy on Succession) plays Rogen’s wife in 1920. In the trailer, she says she dreams of being rich and successful. “How rich?” her husband asks. “Like ‘afford my own gravestone’ rich!” she replies.
After his Rip Van Winkle moment, the elder Greenbaum decides to launch a pickle business in a bid to pull his descendent out of millennial malaise and bring honor to the family name. There’s a great shot in the trailer of Rogen in his old-timey clothes dumping a shopping basket full of cucumbers onto the checkout counter at a supermarket, to the befuddlement of a cashier.
An American Pickle is based on a serial novella by Simon Rich called “Sell Out” that ran in The New Yorker in 2013. Rich also penned the movie script, and the film was directed by Brandon Trost (This Is the End, Rob Zombie's Halloween II). This is the first feature-length film to be released by the fairly-new streaming platform. An American Pickle seems poised to put HBO Max on par with competitors like Netflix, who recently premiered Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga starring Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams.