It's the stuff that great romantic comedies are made of -- but this one can't seem to get any momentum going. Though it's easy to see that James' pursuit of the standoffish pretty girl may be folly, I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With has little, if any, tension. Yes, it's funny (Garlin, who also wrote and directed the film, is, after all, a master comedian). But it plays more like a series of sketch comedy bits -- all strong in their own right, like the one in which Amy Sedaris makes a cameo as a slightly unhinged guidance counselor -- than a cohesive story with an overall arc. (That said, the cameos, including appearances by Richard Kind, Gina Gershon, and Dan Castellaneta, are almost worth the price of admission.)
And there's a bigger -- pardon the pun -- problem: James actually seems anything but pathetic. True, he's overweight and hates it, repeatedly referring to himself as "fat." But he's no sad-sack slob; he always looks presentable (his shirts are crisply ironed), and he's so genial that he's anything but off-putting. Yes, he lives with his mom, but it's not because he's a mooch -- he worries that she'll be lonely. And he may not be able to hold onto his steady gig at Second City, but it's because he's principled; he won't take just any crumb of a job. So here's the fundamental flaw: If James doesn't seem like that much of an outcast -- ultimately, he comes across as a decent guy going through a rough patch -- how can we feel that bad for him? Perhaps if Garlin had cast someone else as James -- Jack Black, maybe, or someone else with edge -- then the transformation from loser to winner would feel more authentic, and viewers would actually feel invested in his triumph.