News

An American Pickle First Reviews: Seth Rogen Shines in Surprisingly Sentimental Comedy

Critics say Rogen turns in some of his best work in this light, tender family drama hidden behind a seemingly wacky high-concept comedy.

by | August 5, 2020 | Comments

Subscribers of HBO MAX get two Seth Rogens for the price of one with the streaming service’s first original feature, An American Pickle. Rogen stars as a Jewish immigrant in 1919 who winds up thrust forward a century into modern America, where he meets his great-great-grandson — also played by Rogen. The one-man, two-character comedy is receiving mostly positive reviews, which highlight a sentimentality over hilarity as well as a surprising performance from its lead in his dual roles.

Here’s what critics are saying about An American Pickle:


Does HBO Max have its first hit on its hands?

It marks an auspicious beginning and is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
– Pete Hammond, Deadline

An American Pickle is an absolutely brilliant two-hander… it’s exactly what we need right now.
– Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

In a time when we can all use a good laugh, An American Pickle very much delivers.
– Eric Eisenberg, Cinema Blend

Even premiering on HBO Max, it feels awfully inconsequential, like an ambitious Funny or Die sketch.
– Matt Singer, ScreenCrush


Seth Rogen in An American Pickle

(Photo by HBO Max)

How is Seth Rogen?

This dual performance is the best, purest thing he’s ever done as an artist, in front of or behind the camera.
Matt Zoller Seitz, RogerEbert.com

An American Pickle features what may be the most mature performance we’ve seen from Seth Rogen in a while.
Danielle Solzman, Solzy at the Movies

The most exciting part of this pickle is Rogen’s breaking of his manchild mold to explore roles more challenging, rich, and uniquely funny.
Kristy Puchko, IGN

An American Pickle gets by on the strength (or make that strengths) of Rogen’s performance.
Chris Evangelista, Slashfilm

Rogen is so adept at breathing depth into two distinct roles.
David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

Both roles ultimately demand a lot from Rogen, and he is exceptional.
Eric Eisenberg, Cinema Blend


So two Seth Rogens isn’t too much Seth Rogen?

I was expecting something along the lines of Adam Sandler in Jack and Jill, but what I got instead is reminiscent of Nic Cage in Adaptation.
Rendy Jones, Rendy Reviews

The movie trickery, laid on with extensive CGI effects, is impressive, aided immeasurably by Rogen in top form on both accounts.
Pete Hammond, Deadline

While the premise is promising, the execution aches from the growing pains of Rogen’s shifting persona.
Kristy Puchko, IGN


Seth Rogen in An American Pickle

(Photo by HBO Max)

Is it funny?

It’s not laugh-out-loud funny; it’s folksy funny.
Michael Roffman, Consequence of Sound

An American Pickle is more interesting than laugh-out-loud hilarious.
Mike Ryan, Uproxx

[It’s] a comedy too contrived to be convincing and too formulaic to be funny.
Owen Gleiberman, Variety

There are some scattered laughs but it’s not particularly funny.
Brian Truitt, USA Today

An American Pickle lacks the focus to be hilarious or emotional. Instead, it’s a frustrating, ramshackle affair.
Matt Goldberg, Collider


Does it hold particular appeal if you’re Jewish?

An American Pickle is most certainly the type of film that will appeal more so to Jewish viewers than a broad comedy audience.
Danielle Solzman, Solzy at the Movies

The humor is for the most part genuinely funny, and even doubly funny if you share in the Jewish references.
Gabriella Geisinger, Digital Spy


Seth Rogen in An American Pickle

(Photo by HBO Max)

Is this a more sentimental affair?

There’s a lot of heart behind the picture’s sentiments about familial honor, work ethic and religious heritage.
Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

An American Pickle uses arguably the dumbest concept imaginable to tell a surprisingly tender story.
Brandon Katz, Observer

There’s an undeniable and lovely sweetness at play in this film; a type of warmth and acceptance that helps elevate the entire package.
Chris Evangelista, Slashfilm

An American Pickle is swift and nimble enough to avoid weighing itself down with schmaltz.
A.O. Scott, New York Times

Its soulful sweetness outweighs its flaws.
David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter


An American Pickle premieres on HBO Max on Thursday, August 6.

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 78.868%
Critics Consensus: An American Pickle lacks the tart snap viewers might expect given its creative premise, but Seth Rogen's dual performance makes this a low-key comedy to relish.
Synopsis: Seth Rogen stars as Herschel Greenbaum, a struggling laborer who immigrates to America in 1919 with dreams of building a... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Brandon Trost

Thumbnail image by HBO Max

Tag Cloud

Nat Geo docudrama Paramount 4/20 blockbuster Dark Horse Comics Apple VICE black Super Bowl Chernobyl Reality obituary Amazon Studios mockumentary psychological thriller game show 21st Century Fox slashers robots south america Mudbound The Witch Polls and Games serial killer documentaries Certified Fresh Turner Fox News disaster Lifetime Christmas movies Shudder Marvel boxoffice History Cartoon Network science fiction mutant politics Funimation Superheroes BET Awards nbcuniversal Travel Channel Election dark crime thriller Horror Brie Larson Watching Series Showtime comiccon spanish Infographic cancelled Fantasy reboot justice league directors television Arrowverse San Diego Comic-Con dramedy finale Food Network versus adventure Winter TV Rocketman Hear Us Out Fox Searchlight joker Paramount Network Netflix Christmas movies Oscars dc fast and furious stand-up comedy Winners hist films thriller rotten movies we love spanish language Cosplay game of thrones 99% biography werewolf TCA Awards laika Rocky Amazon TV renewals james bond Sundance Now documentary 2018 ghosts RT History Podcast LGBT Calendar Kids & Family Film GIFs Comic Book Emmys American Society of Cinematographers japanese spain DC Comics what to watch Alien Reality Competition aliens VOD Television Academy all-time Pixar social media rt archives Lionsgate green book Pop TV Box Office name the review video HBO Max vampires Esquire Opinion Disney Plus DC streaming service 007 Spring TV worst Holiday Country anthology halloween tv hollywood sequels singing competition stop motion Apple TV+ renewed TV shows strong female leads historical drama romantic comedy nature Walt Disney Pictures ID Tomatazos APB a nightmare on elm street Valentine's Day sports universal monsters movies Amazon Prime Video spinoff Britbox A&E Masterpiece indie cooking MSNBC Mindy Kaling Amazon Prime LGBTQ TV Land Trivia free movies VH1 cops PaleyFest Columbia Pictures classics FXX Sci-Fi talk show archives quibi political drama Cannes President Tubi Crackle Disney+ Disney Plus Syfy discovery E! YA Family Video Games WGN IFC Films revenge ITV cats movie scorecard Teen Ellie Kemper Hulu CMT fresh Pop Star Trek Fall TV Grammys Schedule FX on Hulu Disney streaming service crime drama cancelled TV series casting supernatural SXSW Action CBS All Access Sony Pictures The CW romance Animation crime dceu Turner Classic Movies ABC indiana jones psycho comic books MTV Spectrum Originals dragons GLAAD festivals venice Epix USA Avengers child's play FX Mary poppins Awards canceled Song of Ice and Fire festival Binge Guide stoner toronto comics Quiz children's TV reviews Disney Channel best miniseries The Arrangement FOX DC Universe Musical canceled TV shows First Reviews 2017 Black Mirror cinemax Set visit cars kids Nominations Apple TV Plus jamie lee curtis concert richard e. Grant DGA theme song scary movies tv talk Biopics Vudu A24 Martial Arts franchise elevated horror twilight Elton John Heroines harry potter Lucasfilm Marvel Studios Sundance 24 frames composers Creative Arts Emmys BBC One anime Mystery Lifetime CW Seed doctor who ratings Summer Baby Yoda Comics on TV TNT Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt golden globes hispanic OneApp OWN 2019 superhero Holidays independent NYCC National Geographic cancelled TV shows TCA USA Network Logo Sneak Peek Endgame Musicals video on demand breaking bad TruTV DirecTV based on movie RT21 travel zombie football BBC America screenings Anna Paquin 2020 australia Star Wars witnail cancelled television HBO El Rey spy thriller sequel crossover Black History Month Music Hallmark Christmas movies Drama Universal Rom-Com foreign Sundance TV YouTube Red Best and Worst boxing 2016 Ovation Mary Tyler Moore Comedy 20th Century Fox Marvel Television CNN 71st Emmy Awards animated Women's History Month Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Freeform Writers Guild of America TBS series Superheroe Red Carpet unscripted Pet Sematary Warner Bros. Character Guide toy story facebook mission: impossible BET Crunchyroll war sitcom Captain marvel PlayStation YouTube Awards Tour Television Critics Association 2015 TIFF AMC Bravo Mary Poppins Returns french rotten medical drama critics TCA 2017 cartoon Trailer Shondaland CBS Acorn TV Marathons latino streaming Adult Swim IFC WarnerMedia satire 45 Academy Awards Disney zero dark thirty halloween award winner Western screen actors guild blaxploitation The Academy christmas movies Christmas First Look Peacock binge Tumblr natural history adaptation die hard Rock Extras Tarantino Hallmark space Pride Month Premiere Dates teaser zombies TLC parents The Purge Netflix diversity ABC Family news New York Comic Con Emmy Nominations worst movies dogs The Walking Dead SDCC period drama comic PBS Countdown See It Skip It Discovery Channel spider-man Comedy Central emmy awards Starz Spike police drama X-Men YouTube Premium E3 GoT NBC Classic Film TV BBC Toys TCM Nickelodeon italian ESPN SundanceTV nfl 72 Emmy Awards MCU sag awards batman chucky criterion Photos BAFTA true crime Trophy Talk cults comedies asian-american remakes Film Festival technology Thanksgiving Stephen King HBO Go TCA Winter 2020 Ghostbusters book transformers Year in Review Pirates deadpool Interview