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Life has its downs for James, living with his mom in Chicago at 39, an aging performer at Second City, eating and weighing too much. A woman he's been dating drops him, as does his agent, her brother. James turns down roles in local TV, roles that make him sad. Someone's remaking his favorite movie, "Marty," a role he'd love, but he doesn't even get an audition. He has a minor meltdown when talking at a grade school career day. Things look up when he meets the quirky Beth at an ice cream shop. Can James make a career for himself, move out from mom's, and find someone to eat cheese with? Or is he destined to watch Jackie Gleason and be Marty for the rest of his life? Written by
Mmm. I want someone to eat cheese with.
That's what I want! That's so simple. That's perfect. Although I'd probably prefer rice pudding. I love - I'm telling you, you have no idea what you're missing. It's so good.
You wanna' come with me to buy some underwear?
I was just thinking that!
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In an early scene, Luca (David Pasquesi) and James (Jeff Garlin) are walking down a neighborhood street in Chicago, admiring the bucolic architecture, when a woman, angrily arguing in French on a cell phone, passes by them, prompting James to remark, "There's nothing hotter than an angry French woman." A few blocks later, they pass an old Filipino woman, also angry, also arguing on a cell phone, and Luca remarks, for referential effect, "There's nothing hotter than an angry, elderly Filipino woman."
The humor in Jeff Garlin's I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With is best characterized by the word quotidian. The film is a conversation. We might as well be eavesdropping. Rather than go for antics, the film relies on character flaws and human curiosity to deliver laughs. While it's not innovative, it is far from banal, and even if James views himself as being rather jejune, we know that he is fairly average, and this endears him.
Self-betterment is the primary theme of the movie. Sarah Silverman, who plays Beth, is excellent as the catalyst of change; she revitalizes James, and so reminds him to live a better life. Even so, achieving some idyllic dream is not the end of these characters, but rather something simpler: that they might pick up what pieces there are of the life they love, just to keep for themselves at least enough to carry on.
A movie about life lessons can be overwrought, as it can forget to connect with its audience. I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With is subtle and winsome, and while its moral may not be inspiring, it is still resonant. This is low-key comedy, but it will stick with you.
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