Writing, directing, producing and starring: Garlin's the big Cheese

I Want Someone To Eat Cheese With

on September 07, 2007 by Chad Greene
One bad sign about the status of your career as an improvisational comic: the best gig you can book is career day at an elementary school. Another: you bomb.

After being dumped by his girlfriend, dropped by his agent and fired by the Second City, emotional overeater James (Jeff Garlin, adapting his own one-man show) finds himself spilling his guts in front of his best friend's daughter (Elle Fanning) and her classmates. When he asks if there are any questions, only one kid raises his hand. And the sentence that comes out of his mouth isn't a question, it's a statement: “I'm bored.”

But fans of self-deprecating comedy will be anything but bored with this profoundly personal rom com about a lovable-but-lonely lug who still lives with his mother and wants, more than anything else, to be cast in the title role in a remake of 1955's Marty . You know, the Best Picture winner in which Ernest Borgnine's bachelor of advancing years—who also lives with his mother—declares “I'm a fat, ugly man.”

Anyhow, James' breakdown inspires concerned educator Stella (Bonnie Hunt) to send him to a school counselor (Amy Sedaris, reliably hilarious) who compares him to the character of Augustus Gloop in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and offers to be the Oompa Loompa who keeps him from falling into “the chocolate river of your life.”

But it's not in the form of a river that James consumes his chocolate. Whenever depression strikes—be it because of a disappointment either romantic (due to an oddball relationship with a loopy ice cream parlor worker played by Sarah Silverman) or work-related (the only steady gig he can find is as the host of Smear Job , a rude reality show he bills as “pure evil, brought to you by the devil”)—James winds up washing down prepackaged brownies with bottles of milk while sitting on the hood of his car. Which he never moves, preferring to pay to take cabs around Chicago rather than lose a prime parking spot in the shadow of Wrigley Field.

“Shouldn't your car be near where you live?” his best friend (David Pasquesi) asks when they're forced to walk to a restaurant.

“Yeah, but I got a great space,” James replies.

An emotionally honest performance from writer/director/producer/star Garlin ensures that the audience will be pulling for James to get that car—and his life—moving again.
Distributor: IFC First Take
Cast: Jeff Garlin, Sarah Silverman, Bonnie Hunt, Amy Sedaris, Mina Kolb, David Pasquesi, Dan Castellaneta and Elle Fanning
Director/Screenwriter: Jeff Garlin
Producers: Jeff Garlin, Erin O'Malley and Steve Pink
Genre: Romantic comedy
Rating: Unrated
Running time: 80 min.
Release date: September 5, 2007 ltd.
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