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'The Pickle Recipe' whips up sour humor

'The Pickle Recipe' whips up sour humor
Lynn Cohen in the movie "Pickle Recipe." (Adopt Films)

There's a key ingredient missing in "The Pickle Recipe," an ethnic farce about a man determined to get his hands on the secret formula that his grandmother has vowed to take to her grave: any trace of genuine comedy.

When Detroit party DJ Joey Miller (Canadian comic Jon Dore) finds himself in a pickle of his own after his equipment is destroyed in a fire mere weeks before his daughter's bat mitzvah, his unscrupulous Uncle Morty (David Paymer) throws him a lifeline.

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All Joey has to do is get his Grandma Rose (Lynn Cohen) to sign off on the heirloom kosher dill recipe that has made Irv's Deli a Michigan mainstay and sell it to a buyer with deep pockets.

But the old lady isn't budging, forcing Joey to take desperate measures.

Rose's pickles might have a pleasant snap, but there's none to be found in the tired, limp shtick in Sheldon Cohn and Gary Wolfson's screenplay, which has been choreographed at a lumbering, drawn-out pace by director Michael Manasseri.

Cohen, a veteran of stage and screen whose memorable performances range from Golda Meir in Steven Spielberg's "Munich" to Magda, Miranda's meddling housekeeper in "Sex and the City," imbues Rose with a generous amount of grace and dignity.

She's a class act surrounded by forced situations and cringe-worthy characters (a heavily-accented Asian deli staffer named Young-Ho, for one) who are strictly bottom of the barrel.

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'The Pickle Recipe'

Rating: PG-13 for brief suggestive humor and drug references

Running time: 1 hour, 38 minutes

Playing: Laemmle Royal, West L.A., Laemmle Town Center 5, Encino

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