Movie Review: ‘The Pickle Recipe’

It could be that I do not like pickles, but the premise to The Pickle Recipe sounds awful. A Detroit MC needs money to get his equipment fixed/replaced and turns to his uncle who wants him to steal his grandmother “famous” dill pickle recipe. As of this first paragraph, I have not watched the movie and know virtually nothing about it. Based on the premise alone, I have very low expectations. (Leaving now to watch the movie.)

About 15 minutes into The Pickle Recipe and I think it is trying to be a comedy, but I have yet to laugh. The acting is borderline terrible, just barely better than a bad sitcom, not that the actors have much to work with in terms of a good script. Likewise, the characters are unbelievable and mostly one-dimensional. On the plus side, I do like David Paymer (City Slickers, Heart & Souls) and I am glad to see he is still alive and acting. However, even his character, Uncle Morty, is not very likeable and seems to be going for cheap laughs (“I missed the fire! I like fire.”). (Back to the movie.)

The movie tries to take on a somber tone around the 27 minute mark. Joey [Jon Dore, Canadian Idol, How to Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life)], the MC who lost his equipment due to a domino effect that probably sounded better on paper, has talked his grandmother, Rose (Lynn Cohen, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), into letting him work for her so he can try to get her pickle recipe. Rose then takes Joey to a retirement home to visit a friend with Alzheimer’s. Her friend’s lack of memory briefly makes Rose contemplate her own mortality. But then the movie goes right back to bad jokes.

Typically, for these reviews I get to preview the movie for free in my own time. As I write this paragraph, I am a little more than an hour into the film and I am seriously considering turning it off. Nothing has improved since the last paragraph. Nothing is funny. The characters are too over-the-top and unrealistic. It really feels like a bad situation comedy (i.e. Rose getting selective amnesia, forgetting her recipe, and going to see a psychic who makes contact with the afterlife).

(Ok, I finished the movie) “All this over pickles!” Rose’s line pretty much sums up my feeling about the whole movie. If you like 90+ minutes of torture, this is your movie. It has a lot of problems. For example, the scene with Morty talking on the phone while his poker buddies are waiting for him to return makes me wonder if anyone was paying attention to the set. Four people at a poker table waiting for a fifth to return and nobody thought there should be a fifth chair or room for that fifth person. And why was a locked box with the label “Rose’s Recipes” sitting on a display in a dining room/living room.

On the plus side, the movie does have an encouraging, yet woefully underdeveloped morale about the importance of family. There is also a bit of a love story that also takes a backseat to the “comedy”. The Pickle Recipe probably had great potential in the early preparation stages and the premise is not as bad as I initially thought; but the film did not have the right ingredients and I would not try to feed it to anyone that does not like bad comedy.

Opens in select markets on Friday, October 28th.

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