Don’t we all? Writer, comedian Jeff Garlin brings his solo-show to the big screen as its Director, Producer and star. I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With looks at the life of actor James (Garlin), trying to earn a living and find love in Chicago while still living with his mother.
The woman he’s dating breaks up with him and to get his life back on track he’s determined to nail the lead in the remake of his favorite movie Marty. Just as fate is conspiring against him Jeff meets the quirky Beth (Sarah Silverman) and the funny Stella (Bonnie Hunt). Feast or famine, right? But things in James’s life are seldom so easy. Change is required, but is he ready to commit?
This movie has a lot of charm and a few laughs. Garlin is pretty much just fictionalizing himself, walking through his neighborhood and his life and taking us along. He has a best friend named Luca played by Second City alum David Pasquesi who is this film’s version of Larry David. The two men have conversations that could very well have come from an episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm”. (And that’s not a criticism, just an observation.)
The women characters in the story are somewhat interesting. Silverman’s Beth is unconventional, unbalanced and in the end not likeable. Beth manipulates James and I felt pretty manipulated as well. Stella is a little more even-keeled, but not that much more. She has her issues but is warm and real, helped along by Hunt’s performance. I suspect she’s modeled after Garlin’s real-life wife. James’s mother, played by Mina Kolb is pitch perfect. She’s nosey but loving and enjoyable.
Two things that were great fun to watch in this film: the cameos and the Chicago location. After the generic vistas of Vancouver and Toronto is a pleasure to see the distinctive streets and architecture of Chicago. It’s apparent that Director/Producer Garlin was passionate about keeping his story in his hometown and utilizing the talented denizens to round out the cast. Speaking of cast, it’s a cavalcade of stars lending their talents for brief shining moments: Amy Sedaris, director Paul Mazursky, Gina Gershon, and Aaron Carter to but name-drop a few. No you didn’t read that wrong. I said Tiger Beat hottie Aaron Carter.
You’d think with all these positives that I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With would be a good little romantic comedy. But sadly it lacks. Garlin is affable as his movie counterpart James but there’s little stretching of acting muscles here. The three major plot lines are pretty thin, punctuated by a famous face showing up here or there to spice things up. It’s not a bad movie, it just feels like an idea of a better movie that was never fully realized.
Running Time: 80 minutes
Opens in limited release USA September 7, 2007.
MPAA Rated: Not rated, but it does contain some language and sexual situations.