With more than just subtle hints of Woody Allen (complete with black & white jazz-overlayed credits), the debut feature by stand-up comic and Second City alum Jeff Garlin is no less than the most hilariously droll treatise on loneliness this critic has ever seen.
The somewhat askewly, and quite grammatically incorrect to boot, titled I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With is the story of James, a lonely Second City comic barely making it in the Chicago entertainment scene and still living with his mother at 39, who waylays his loneliness into late-night junk food eating binges while sitting in a convenience store parking lot nestled in the shadow of Wrigley Field. Garlin, best known for his work on Arrested Developement and Curb Your Enthusiasm, has taken his one man show on the road so to speak, with this mostly autobiographical film about being fat, jobless and alone.
Now obviously being on one of the most critically acclaimed shows currently on television, Garlin is far from the teetering near-failure he plays here, and weight-conscience society be damned, Garlin is way to genuinely funny and charming to be so brusquely cast aside by the fairer sex as much as he claims, but he plays his "character" with such oblivious confidence that one must question the very inherent loneliness in us all. Perhaps it's not quite that heavy (or is it now?), but it may very well be the smartest look at loneliness since Paddy Chayefsky's Marty, a film in which James is obsessed with, Garlin takes a more urbanely comic approach to the situation, pumping his film up with many Curb and Second City buddies like Bonnie Hunt, Amy Sedaris, Richard Kind and David Pasquesi, and adding the appropriately caustic carping of Sarah Silverman as a rather mean-spirited love interest, and it works like a charm.
The only critical downside is that one might say the film comes off as quite sit-commish, with its episodic bits and parts, but if it does come off this way, it is certainly less in the manner of your typical sit-com and more in the manner of Curb Your Enthusiasm, which ain't half bad a pedigree to have. [10/12/07]