I WANT SOMEONE TO EAT CHEESE WITH

NR
Reviews

There’s a running gag in writer-director Jeff Garlin’s film involving his character James, a barely employed Chicago actor who discovers someone is mounting a new production of Paddy Chayeksky’s Marty, but the casting director will not audition him. There’s little doubt the schlubby performer would fit the role to a tee, a fact he bemoans throughout the course of the film. And when he finally does get to play the coveted part—in an amateur production at a senior citizens’ home—it’s supposed to be the grand culmination of some wonderfully ironic joke.

Unfortunately, most of what has gone before manages to undercut this final sequence. Garlin, best known as Larry David’s manager in the HBO series “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” is a Second City veteran who has let his penchant for improvisation run rampant. Because of this, I Want Someone To Eat Cheese With is a visually static film filled with scenes that have obviously been made up on the fly—and most of them aren’t terribly interesting.

Not that there aren’t some funny moments in the picture—after all, it’s hard not to get a few laughs when the supporting cast includes comic talents like Sarah Silverman, Bonnie Hunt and Amy Sedaris. And in choosing to make a modern variant of Marty—James lives with his mom and is looking for the right girl, the “someone to eat cheese with” of the title—Garlin has at least used tried-and-true source material.

But what emerges is one of those shambling, first-time efforts that flops and flounders all over the place, like a fish out of water. The pacing is near catatonic. The actors are directed—or misdirected—in such a way that you can practically see them thinking really, really hard, trying to come up with their next line. And what plot there is becomes obvious from about ten minutes in.

Garlin is an amiable enough figure, one of those charming fat guys with a certain sweet sex appeal. But he has done himself no favors making a film in which he comes off looking like a talent-challenged egotist who would have been better off taking a juicy supporting role in someone else’s film. Sometimes, people need to know their place.