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.
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.
‘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