Magazine September 7, 2020, Issue

An American Pickle: Seth Rogen’s Traditionalist Comedy

Seth Rogen in An American Pickle (Sony Pictures)

One modest reason to lament the waning of the romantic comedy over the last two decades is that it removes from Hollywood’s repertoire a genre that’s reliably conservative. Even in its gross-out forms, even when some kind of subversion is intended, the requirements of romance involve two human beings putting aside childish things and embracing an ancient institution for the sake of the propagation of the species. In a culture that since the 1970s (at least) has valorized the expressive individual, the quest for the God Within, the rom-com endured as a partial rebuke to the dominant religion, a reminder

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This article appears as “Faith of Our Fathers” in the September 7, 2020, print edition of National Review.

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Max the Hamster

The pandemic, the shutdown, and the riots reveal, of the cities, the truth of that ancient bureaucratic adage: Don’t ever take a vacation.

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