Sitcoms about nothing, mumblecore movies—is the thematic three-act structure really dead, and if so, should we say good riddance? Either way, if you’re into the formless baring of the innermost self, you could do a lot worse than Curb Your Enthusiasm star Jeff Garlin’s sweetly tender peregrination, based on his one-man show on being a fat, gig-less, and lonely actor in search of someone to love. Jeff—or is it “Jeff”?— drifts around Chicago playing straight man to an unlimited supply of neurotics and lunatics, most of them played by Curb and Second City buddies like Bonnie Hunt, Amy Sedaris, and David Pasquesi. Sarah Silverman—no stranger herself to the aimless life—plays a crimson-bra’d nut job and love interest with a cruel streak you’ll have no trouble recognizing from her own body of work. There’s nothing radically new about Garlin’s observation that life is governed by absurdities and non sequiturs, but what sets this movie apart from the pack is that it’s ruefully self-aware rather than self-conscious. I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With may be one of the wisest studies of urban loneliness since Paddy Chayefsky’s Marty (which figures in the movie as a remake starring boy-band alum Aaron Carter), as well as the least condescending to little old Jewish mothers, who drive the story more than you’d think.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 28, 2007