I spoke with Heidi Armbruster about My Man Is a Loser. Heidi plays Liz, the stunning wife of Paul (Bryan Callen) in this hilarious film. It was so much fun speaking with her about the film, her character, her creepy Law & Order: SVU connection with John Stamos, and so much more. The film also stars Kathy Searle, Michael Rapaport, John Stamos, and Tika Sumpter. I highly recommend that you don’t miss My Man Is a Loser, which will be available Friday in theaters and on demand.
Lena: I have to say that you and John Stamos were in two of the creepiest episodes of Law & Order: SVU ever. Did you see his episode?
Heidi Armbruster: I feel like for a whole period of my life I put myself to sleep watching Law & Order: SVU and I don’t know why—that was a creepy time. I feel like I’ve seen a lot of them, but I don’t know that I’ve ever seen John Stamos.
Lena: Oh, you have to look that one up. That’s why I was laughing when I saw My Man Is a Loser because the two people that have been in the creepiest episodes of that show were in a movie together.
Heidi Armbruster: That’s hilarious. There was that girl that was discovered, my ten-year-old daughter, in a duffle bag or something in that episode that I did. That poor little girl, I still think about that. That is the reason why you do not make your child be an actor. She had a little panic attack after being zipped up in that duffle bag. I felt so bad.
Lena: That is horrible. John Stamos plays a “reproductive abuser” [pokes holes in condoms to impregnate unwitting women] in the episode that he starred in. You really have to watch it. [It’s one of those episodes that really sticks with you. I don’t know if he should be trusted around condoms. I know that John has an amazing sense of humor because I was on a press call with him and he was a riot. He had a nasty cold and took some cough medicine and kept on apologizing for being wacky, but he was the perfect kind of wacky. I know for a fact that he made everyone’s day. To sum it up, John Stamos = awesome. Watch this film.]
Heidi Armbruster: Wow! I’m going to have to look for it.
Lena: I watched My Man Is a Loser over the weekend and I really enjoyed it.
Heidi Armbruster: Good. I still haven’t seen it. I’ve seen clips.
Lena: It’s really good. I think that Mike Young did a great job. I was going to actually ask you that I bet it was great to watch the final version of the film and see how it all came together because a lot of your scenes are segregated from the rest of the cast and you are just in scenes with Kathy.
Heidi Armbruster: Totally. We shot it up in Connecticut during two weeks and they shot all the fun club scenes, with the strippers and stuff, in New York. There is so much of it that I haven’t seen.
Lena: What a way to open the film with some therapy provided by Sean Young’s character.
Heidi Armbruster: How brilliant is that? What a trip. She’s the loveliest woman. She could not have been lovelier, but kind of hilarious in a different insider way.
Lena: Yes, her reaction to Paul (Bryan Callen) was very funny.
Heidi Armbruster: Yes. I think everybody wanted her to do a few more scenes. I think that was the day that the idea for a sequel was hatched. We need to have more movies so we can have more from Sean Young. That would be pretty awesome.
Lena: What was it like having Bryan Callen as your movie husband?
Heidi Armbruster: Bryan is so delicious. He’s virtuosic. He just has star quality. We went to go and see his stand-up and there is no other word for it but virtuosic. He just is. He’s easy and it’s wonderful watching him do stand-up. He defines the whole genre, like the way that—I don’t know, Billy Cosby or any of those people who became iconic. He’s such a physical performer and that’s so good. On set he’s a total nut ball of course and it’s like being in a clown car on your way to the gym—working with Bryan Callen. I’ve never seen him not on. There is usually a barrage of filth coming out of his mouth in the most deliciously charming way.
Lena: Stepping outside of your character, what advice would you have offered Paul and Marty (Michael Rapaport)?
Heidi Armbruster: I was thinking about this and I don’t know if it’s just on Paul and Marty. I shouldn’t answer this question this way because I’m not going to sound like a good feminist, but I really think Liz lets some things go. I feel like everybody lets some things go, but I feel like ultimately the movie comes around with the idea that marriage is a two-way street and that you have to give a little to take a little, not just show up. I feel like Paul and Marty are not entirely to blame, that the ladies are also implicated a bit in letting their marriage kind of slip off the rails.
Lena: That was my next question to you—Do you think Liz and Lianne are a little too hard on them?
Heidi Armbruster: I think if they are a little too hard on them it’s because they know that they are also to blame. I don’t know that the movie holds up that much psychology but I think that Paul and Marty need to get their act together, but the ladies need to recognize that it’s a two-way street.
Lena: Looking at the whole picture, isn’t Mike (John Stamos) the real loser of the bunch? Paul and Marty are at least trying to make their marriages work and Mike can’t even remember the names of the girls that he’s sleeping with.
Heidi Armbruster: Totally. You know what, I like that. It’s sort of like the alternate feminist reading of My Man Is a Loser. Let’s put on our librarian glasses and talk about that the loser is actually the single man who doesn’t even remember girls’ names. I think the real journey is that it’s the journey of John Stamos’ character. He’s John Stamos, so it’s totally his movie. Then we come to understand also in terms of how he helps these friends get to a point where their marriages are healed, but in that he finds himself within his character and he’s able to see what’s beautiful about being in partnership with someone. I kind of like that. You could totally teach My Man Is a Loser in Women’s Studies 101.
Lena: Can you talk about working with the cast because you have some really great scenes with Kathy Searle?
Heidi Armbruster: Kathy and I had such a good time. Kathy was fun and full of confidence. We just had a really good time and it was nice to have a buddy on set. We got to be good friends and we maintain a relationship now. It was also good to have a little girl power because Mike Young is the writer/director and the producers are dudes, so it was nice to have another lady.
Lena: It seemed like you were real-life friends.
Heidi Armbruster: I love hearing that. That makes me feel really good. We did not know each other. We do have mutual friends and I guess I’ve seen her around in waiting rooms before and I had a little crush on her because she seemed really lovely, friendly, and funny. She’s just a gem. She’s another one of those clown car people—like being around Kathy Searle is like being in a clown car and drinking Cosmopolitans in a clown car. She’s a funny lady.
Lena: This film really does bring up some good points about relationships. What do you hope people will take away from it?
Heidi Armbruster: I love that two-way street at the end; that relationships take work, they take attention, but that ultimately being in a partnership with somebody is its own reward. I feel like Liz is sitting around, like we were talking about earlier, like she’s reading Shades of Grey or some other fictional thing—she constantly has her nose in this erotica book or whatever. They’ve all sort of found ways to get their needs met outside and I think there is something to be said for just looking at who is in front of you, just stop for a minute and be in a relationship with that—the idea of them or the disappointment of them.
Lena: Are you going to be bringing your play Dairyland anywhere else?
Heidi Armbruster: That’s so cool that you know about my play. We just did my play. We are shopping it. I know that we are doing a reading. We are opening the Luna Stage season in Jersey in October and that’s the only thing that I know is happening right now. I’m in a Theresa Rebeck play.
My Man Is a Loser, available Friday in theaters and on demand.