Sweet and enjoyable ‘Recipe’ overcomes imperfections

Lynn Cohen (left) stars in the comedy, ’The Pickle Recipe.’

Ellen Futterman, Editor

Divorced dad Joey Miller is in a pickle. The DJ king of the Jewish party circuit in Detroit, Joey’s equipment gets trashed in a freak accident, leaving him broke and without a source of income. What’s worse is that Joey’s daughter and apple of his eye is having her bat mitzvah in a matter of weeks, and he’s scheduled to supply the entertainment. He’s even promised to make it extra special, despite his shrewish ex-wife’s complete lack of faith in him.

What’s poor Joey (Jon Dore) to do?

Enter Uncle Morty (Oscar-nominee David Paymer) and a scheme to steal his mother’s — and Joey’s grandmother’s — prized kosher dill pickle recipe, which she keeps under lock and key. It seems Morty and his mother Rose (Lynn Cohen) have been estranged for decades and Joey isn’t winning any devoted grandson award either. So when he nonchalantly appears at her deli kitchen one day, Grandma Rose isn’t about to let him –- or anyone else for that matter — watch as she makes her legendary, top-secret pickles, which attract diners of all ethnicities from the Motor City and beyond. 

 “The Pickle Recipe” is a formulaic, overly shtick comedy at best, but an affable cast and good-hearted intentions save the film from ever turning sour. Audiences are likely to remember veteran stage actress Cohen — who lived for many years in St. Louis — as Miranda’s housekeeper Magda in “Sex and the City,” and be charmed by her character here, which she imbues with equal parts moxie and grace.

Good, too, is Dore, who makes Joey into an appealing antihero as he finds himself enlisting the help of his overly goofy buddy (Eric Edelstein) to steal Rose’s recipe, as well as a fortune-teller to channel her late husband Irv.


Unfortunately, Paymer’s Morty is reduced to one-note and the character is played out rather quickly.

Nothing in “The Pickle Recipe” is particularly fresh but the film serves up enough goodwill and overall sweetness to keep audiences engaged.

Contact Editor Ellen Futterman at 314-743-3669 or [email protected].