The plot of the refreshingly zany new comedy “The Pickle Recipe” involves a strong-willed, 85-year-old grandmother and deli-owner trying to protect her unique recipe for fabulously tasty and popular dill pickles from being stolen. The filmmakers have come up with their own recipe for an immensely enjoyable and unusual film that skillfully mixes laugh-aloud humor with heart. The cast is terrific and the film clicks along with comic brio, then ends with a burst of feeling as all is happily resolved.
Foremost is always-excellent Lynn Cohen as grandmother Rose. She gives a warm, endearing and memorably feisty performance that sparkles with strength and a sarcastic streak. Cohen, who many will fondly remember as Magda in “Sex and the City” and Golda Meir in “Munich,” is a delight to watch as she commands the screen for much of the story. The film, set in Detroit, has been smartly directed by Michael Manasseri from a clever screenplay by Sheldon Cohn and Gary Wolfson, abetted by cinematography that captures the aura of the city on a rebound.
The set-up starts with a fire that destroys the DJ equipment of Joey Miller (a likable Jon Dore), who needs replacement money so he can MC his beloved daughter’s upcoming Bat-Mitzvah, especially since his daughter lives with his ex-wife and her haughty new guy, who have plans of their own.
Joey’s uncle Morty, colorfully and frenetically portrayed by David Paymer, has a plan that can help both. He wants to steal his mother Rose’s pickle recipe and sell it, a not-so-easy task since Rose doesn’t let anyone near when she makes her pickles, and the pleasingly ethnically mixed staff at the deli helps guard her from intruders.
Obviously a plot like this can lead to a bundle of carefully constructed complications. Morty and his mother have been estranged for years. He has to figure out ways for Joey to get close enough to her to raid her recipe box. One involves Bruce Reizen hilariously posing as a rabbi being palmed off on Rose at a Sabbath dinner. How she discovers the truth is one of the film’s most hilarious moments.
The comedy builds through various situations that get increasingly complex, but when all of the chaos clears in a kind of Frank Capra ending, the film’s inner heart emerges, with gaps bridged, feelings brought to the surface and the film assuming a meaning concerning relationships that is greater than the story of pickles and thievery.
After you finish enjoying the entertaining film, you may want to head for the nearest deli to try out some pickles for yourself. Chances are they won’t be as delicious as those Rose is reputed to make in this very tasty film. An Adopt Films release. Reviewed November 3, 2016.