Read previous Eats & Entertainment
May 3, 2008
DVD REVIEW: I Want
Someone to Eat Cheese With
Comedian Jeff Garlin, best known for playing Larry David’s tubby agent
sidekick Jeff Greene on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, steps into
the spotlight in the indie comedy I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With.
The movie, which Garlin wrote, directed and stars in, comes to DVD this
week after a brief theatrical run last year, and is a must for anyone
who likes Garlin, Curb, sweet romantic comedy and (most of all)
the city of Chicago.
small movie in just about every sense, I Want Someone to Eat Cheese
With is a slight, 80-minute, stream-of-consciousness slice-of-life
comedy about a character pretty clearly close to Garlin himself. The
comic plays James, a struggling, overweight 39-year-old actor in Chicago
who lives with his mother and takes sporadic work with a “Candid
Camera”-like TV show, as well as the famed Second City comedy troupe.
James seems to be failing at everything in life until he meets Beth
(Sarah Silverman), a girl who seems interested in him for reasons he
can’t quite understand. Their flirtation provides the film with its
title and much of its sweetness, which thankfully never really crosses
the line into sentimentality.
The role represents a triumph for Silverman, as for once she escapes her
tired more-shocking-than-thou persona. But the character’s failure is in
the writing. Garlin writes her as, for lack of a better word, a complete
lunatic. While the movie is likely autobiographical and the character
probably is based on someone Garlin really knows, the character is still
somewhat hard to believe.
Regardless, Cheese does all the little things right. It includes
funny supporting performances from all sorts of actors associated with
Second City and/or Garlin himself, from Bonnie Hunt to Richard Kind to
Dan “Homer Simpson” Castellaneta to Mina Kolb (who played Garlin’s
mother on Curb and does again here). The incidental music seems
borrowed from Curb itself, and one particularly canny joke has
Garlin trying out for a remake of the 1950s classic Marty, a
movie with a plot nearly identical to that of Cheese itself.
Perhaps best of all is the movie’s treatment of Chicago. It might be the
best cinematic travelogue of the Windy City since Ferris Bueller’s
Day Off 20 years ago. Among other great Chicago touches, Garlin
finds a great parking space in the shadow of Wrigley Field – so he keeps
his car there for what seems like months, even though he lives far away.
I Want Someone to Eat
isn’t the funniest or most legendary or memorable movie ever made, but
considering how awful most Hollywood comedies are these days, its DVD is
well worth a rental, especially if you’re a fan of Curb or Jeff
© 2008 North Star Writers
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