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IFC presents
I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With (2007)

"I've lived a life of unhealthy choices."
- James Aaron (Jeff Garlin)

Review By: Dan Heaton   
Published: April 24, 2008

Stars: Jeff Garlin, Bonnie Hunt, Sarah Silverman, David Pasquesi, Mina Kolb
Other Stars: Dan Castellaneta, Tim Kazurinsky, Rebecca Allen, Henriette Mantel, Joey Slotnick
Director: Jeff Garlin

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (adult themes)
Run Time: 01h:20m:37s
Release Date: April 15, 2008
UPC: 796019809627
Genre: action


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ B+BB+ C+

DVD Review

As Larry David's agent and buddy in Curb Your Enthusiasm, the hulking Jeff Garlin exudes a likable presence and excellent comic timing. His understated skills are prevalent in his charming directorial debut, I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With. This low-budget indie comedy retains a laid-back style but is filled with funny moments. Garlin enjoys showing the silliness present in the minute details of daily life. Fans of his work on Curb will be surprised by the relaxed pace of this 80-minute picture, which offers poignant moments without overstaying its welcome. Shot primarily on location in Chicago, this picture feels much different from the typical New York City comedies. The setting plays a key role in the story and reveals important points about the main character.

James Aaron (Garlin) is the epitome of the sad, yet likable guy struggling with the pitfalls of adulthood. Approaching his forties and still living with his mom, James is unlucky in love and failing as an actor. Sitting near Wrigley Field on the hood of his car, he indulges in nasty junk food to stay happy amidst the trouble. Unique people come and go to keep the story light, including a pirate giving away hot dogs and a crazed school counselor. A love interest does appear in the form of Beth (Sarah Silverman)—a hot ice cream shop worker—, but she might be a bit off balance. Jeff also meets Stella (Bonnie Hunt) at a local record store, but her timid interactions mask a possible interest. Facing rejection from all sides, success appears to grow more elusive for the big guy.

Jeff Garlin has enlisted a talented group of supporting players that should be recognizable to film and television lovers. Amy Sedaris brings her manic energy to the counselor, Richard Kind plays his typical role as James' uncaring agent, and Dan Castellanata is effective as a goofy convenience store owner. Even the smallest parts are well-cast and believable, which makes this film more than just a directing lark for Garlin. The laid-back style does keep us from being truly engaged, but that tone matches the mundane feelings of James' character. None of the scenes are overplayed, which makes the sharp moments even more entertaining.

I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With is not the must-see comedy that will have you quoting lines back to your friends weeks later, but it succeeds on a smaller scale. We do feel sympathy for James and hope that he'll be able to connect with the right person. The Chicago scenery is a major positive but never distracts from the main story. Some viewers might not enjoy the ending, which doesn't wrap the story into a tidy package. It's a sweet, worthy conclusion that respects the audience and doesn't insult it. Working under severe budget limits, Garlin has crafted an engaging, funny picture. I'm hoping that he’ll get the chance to write and direct more projects in the near future.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: This release offers a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer that presents the events solidly. The restrictions of the budget are evident in the images, which could have been sharper at times. The exterior locations do look memorable, but the picture could have used a bit more clarity to reach the next quality level.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The relaxed background music contributes well to this film's overall atmosphere, and the 5.1-channel Dolby Digital transfer assists with this process. The conversations dominate the story, and they remain clear throughout the movie. There's nothing groundbreaking that will generate repeated listens, but it’s a commendable presentation.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring Flakes, How to Rob a Bank, You Kill Me, Snow Cake
1 Deleted Scenes
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Writer/Director Jeff Garlin
Packaging: custom cardboard cover with sl
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: The extras are pretty light on this release, but it does provide a deleted scene and commentary from Jeff Garlin. The cut scene shows James' interaction with the couple in the diner while filming the television show. It's a throwaway moment and adds little to the picture. Garlin gives optional commentary explaining the cut, but he disappears pretty early, which makes the choice repetitive. The commentary displays Garlin's amicable personality and includes plenty of interesting details. A silly moment involves a phone call from This American Life host Ira Glass, which Garlin takes while continuing to record the track. His statements are fairly scene-specific, but they do convey noteworthy information about the jokes and production difficulties.

Extras Grade: C+

 

Final Comments

I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With is the type of film to enjoy while relaxing on the couch and enjoying a bottle of wine (and maybe cheese). Fans of low-key humor and romance should definitely give this film a chance. Garlin's connection with the material raises the personal stakes and delivers an enjoyable tale.

 


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