Friday, September 14, 2007


Jeff Garlin has written, produced, directed and stars in I WANT SOMEONE TO EAT CHEESE WITH, a new comedy about a comic actor, James, who makes a living acting and performing improv in Chicago. His unsuccessful love life and overeating are the running themes. Garlin is best known as the guy who stars in CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM on HBO and looks like fellow Chicago improv actor George Wendt (CHEERS). Wendt by the way, recently said that people tell him on auditions they’re now looking for a “Jeff Garlin­–type.”

James lives with his mother in a MARTY–like setup. I found it hard to believe that a performer who constantly works with other performers in improv had any trouble meeting a lot of women, regardless of his appearance. [Garlin is a little heavy as James but looked less heavy than on CURB and in recent appearances promoting the film.] He meets Beth (Sarah Silverman), who is kooky sexy. She throws herself at him, diverging from the MARTY plot [she has a dirty line about hoagies that could enter the language], but there’s a another lady in the plot, Stella (Bonnie Hunt), his niece’s teacher, who catches his eye. John Sayles­–lookalike David Pasquesi provides strong support as his brotherly best friend Luca. I enjoyed their portrayal of fraternal friendship, a brother from another mother.

Jeff Garlin has created a character distinct from “Jeff Greene” in CURB but I found two of the similarities to CURB distracting: the interstitial jaunty French-sounding accordion music and one particular sentence construction, “big bowl of…,” used in both projects. I was jolted into the CURB world of Jeff Greene when I heard it.

As a producer of CURB and former member of Second City, Garlin must know most of the good working comic actors in the business and the gang’s all here, including Roger Bart, Dan Castellanata, Tim Kazurinsky, Richard Kind, Wallace Langham, and so on. Special mention to the excellent Mina Kolb as James’ mother, loving but not sloppy about it.

Iif you’re looking for a warm fuzzy, this isn’t it, except maybe for the last scene. Even though the trailers are setting you up for a romantic comedy, it's really about a man who has peaked in his profession and is treading water, a successful loser in a career that others would envy--that's how hard it is to make it. He's working in show business but he's living with his mother so maybe he's not really making a living.

EAT ends too soon at 80 minutes and that's better than 2-1/2 hours of flying cars or guns, guns, guns. I would like to have seen a little more at the end, but like good literature the discerning reader has to fill in the gaps. The last scene must be less than a minute long but gives a lot of information so quickly that you'll have a lot to chew on as the credits roll.


Gina said...

"interstitial jaunty French-sounding accordion music"


we don't get HBO in our house. It's banned. My parents banned it. Maybe 45 year old lady should move out, no?

Brian said...

Nothing rocking, just a brisk walk down the street beat.

I'm waiting for Lamentations to comment on the new soft core TELL ME YOU LOVE ME show on HBO.

Gina said...

A Jewish mother? A guy begging for affection from his GF? Hmmm.....what else could it be about?