For everyone who has ever wished for a film starring Seth Rogen as two characters — one with a penchant for pickles — the trailer for “An American Pickle” has easily made their hyper-specific dream come true.
Directed by Brandon Trost (“This is the End,” “Neighbors,” “The Interview”) and based on Simon Rich’s (“Man Seeking Woman,” “Miracle Workers”) 2013 New Yorker novella, “An American Pickle” — HBO Max’s first original film — stars Rogen as both Herschel Greenbaum, a struggling laborer who immigrates to America in 1920, and Ben Greenbaum, Herschel’s mild-mannered computer programmer grandson.
The film brings both Greenbaums together as the result of Herschel’s accident in the pickle factory in which he works, where he is brined in a vat and preserved for 100 years, emerging in present-day Brooklyn to be with Ben, his only remaining relative.From the trailer, Herschel’s quest for the American dream doesn’t just stop after he’s fallen into a vat of pickles. The film focuses on how his goals mesh with Ben’s, who is comparatively complacent in life.
We not just the initial culture shock Herschel experiences, what with taxis, electric lighting, and David Bowie causing confusion. The trailer also emphasizes that he has to navigate a world where his love (played by Sarah Snook) has been dead for decades.
While the premise itself has Rich’s patented surrealism ingrained (and pickled) in it, “An American Pickle” is clearly a tale of two generations coming together. The focus on isolation and coming together will certainly ring even more true considering current events.
HBO Max announced back in April that it had acquired the worldwide rights for “An American Pickle,” in order to ensure that the film’s release wouldn’t be delayed by theater closures. It is one of the first feature films to be released by the streaming service which debuted at the end of May.
The streaming company initially launched with a healthy dose of feature films from the Warner catalog, including several classic titles. It’ll be interesting to see whether the arrival of Rogen’s feature, and his cache as an actor, will compel an influx of new users to add another streaming service to their bill.
“An American Pickle” will premiere on HBO Max on Thursday, August 6.