An excerpt from my script review for An American Pickle which will be available 08/10/20:

3.) Quality of Characters

After the whole “pickling process” concern, this was the second biggest pill to swallow.

The weird ass love triangle.

Herschel is an old school Eastern European Jew. (Remember, think Jewish Borat.)

Ben is the lazy stoner Seth Rogen plays in countless other films.

Claire is the skinny, well-to-do woman looking for a man that needs fixing.

Ben and Claire being together makes sense.

But forcing us to believe she is going to fall for Herschel, and then let him bend her over and take her from behind in his converted “couch tent” in Brooklyn while a bunch of unpaid interns stare?

More of the fucking “stupid”.

And it just doesn’t work, but these three are forced into these situations for the sole purpose of carrying us from one Seth Rogen style joke to another.

Fuck, even Ben goes back to Slupsk, a real life city in Poland by the way, and does all the things that Herschel did in the beginning because…I don’t know…character arc?

It’s just all too much, from the Great-grandpa sex Claire seeks out to Ben’s gross crying that’s meant to be funny to Herschel’s continued dumb running gags of not being able to read or wanting to run into a knife anytime he faces hardship.

The moral of this section to take away for your own writing is give us characters we’ll enjoy first and foremost.

After that, it’s your job as a writer to build their personalities so when they choose to do certain things it’s not only entertaining, it makes fucking sense.

(And no great-grandpa sex, please.)

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