The always-funny Jeff Garlin makes his debut in directing with the independent comedy, “I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With,” which he also wrote and starred in. The film received favorable reviews when it was shown at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival. The movie’s plot centers around the character James Aaron (played by Garlin), a 39-year old local actor who lives with his mother (Mina Kolb) in the Chicago area. The movie details his two major struggles: finding love and over-eating, both problems being intertwined with each other. After leaving his role on the show “SmearJob,” in which he played cruel jokes on innocent, unsuspecting strangers, his girlfriend dumps him. Following this, his agent (Richard Kind) lets him go. This sends him on a recurring downward spiral that sees him eating junk food on the hood of his car late at night. One day, after sneaking out of an Eaters Anonymous class, James walks into an ice cream parlor where employee Beth, played by Sarah Silverman, gives him a free sundae. This is the start of an uncommon relationship. At times, the sporadic Beth seems loving and very affectionate towards James, and at others, quite distant. This causes James much confusion and plays into his mood throughout the film.
At the same time as the relationship starts up, James is asked to speak to his nieces’ elementary school class. To his surprise, the teacher, Stella Lewis (Bonnie Hunt) is a woman he bumped into at a record store a few days earlier, but didn’t have the courage to ask out. After going off on an embarrassing tangent to the class about his personal problems, he strikes up a conversation with the teacher, finding out that they have more in common then he may have thought.
Further complicating his problems, he finds out his all-time favorite film, “Marty” is being re-made in the Chicago area. To his chagrin, he cannot land an audition for the role he feels he was born to play.
Through all of this, his only escape is through food, a problem which he hides from his friends by constantly saying he has recently started a new diet.
If you want a good laugh, but one with less fluff than the rest, “I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With” might just be for you. Although this sounds like the foundation for a sad, sappy movie, it is actually very funny.
What separates this from the countless other romantic comedies is its brand of humor; the movie displays a form of comedy that comes from the uncomfortable moments we all face on a day-to-day basis, which makes this relatable to most people.
The situations throughout most of the movie are mundane, but the conversation between characters is what makes the scenes memorable.
The other highlight of this movie is the cast, which contains many notable faces that make cameos throughout the picture such as Amy Sedaris, Gina Gershon, and Paul Mazursky, amongst others.
3 out of 4 stars