Mike Birbiglia is not only a phenomenal comedian, but is also a comedian who sure can direct an entertaining movie towards the subject of stand-up comedy. Sleepwalk With Me is a vivid sitcom that captured my attention so much I wanted to just watch it three times a day. Birbiglia is at his best. It stars many other brilliant actors such as Lauren Ambrose (as Abby), James Rebhorn (as Frank), and Carol Kane (as Linda). It is a such a spectacle film and surprisingly, it is able to be amazing in a time length of only eighty minutes.
Sleepwalk with Me follows the story of lonely Matt Pandamiglio (Birbiglia): a man who is lonely, slow, a bartender, an amateur comedian, and main character. He is someone who feels he has found the love of his life to his loved one named Abby (Ambrose). She is a girl who is actually doing well with a job that is teaching yoga classes and has a steady income. Matt on the other hand is into stand-up comedy and is a bartender. Above all, he is a nice fellow, but he has one major issue…he is a man who sleepwalks. He sleepwalks so much to the point where he hurts himself severely.
Matt’s parents Frank (Rebhorn) and Linda (Kane) are worried about Matt but at the same time are aggravated. Matt can never decide how to make a living. He wants to become a comedian but most of the time is a bartender. Also with his medical issues with sleepwalking disorder he is not organized with going to see the doctors that his father recommends. Therefore, Matt takes the chance and devotes so much time to any comedy gig he can get. Open-mics, showcases, school-functions, you name it.
I love this movie. I am a big follower of stand-up comedians and have seen many live including Birbiglia. His style of comedy in real-life is just brilliant storytelling with colorful lighting that makes you feel you are part of his story. Sleepwalk with Me is a big focus of the areas of his life, and when I watch it I always focus on the scenes where he does stand-up. When I watch that it gives me really good ideas of how I can relate to the audience and tell a story. Sleepwalk with Me really defines the challenge of doing stand-up comedy.
Birbiglia worked with many different screenplay writers for Sleepwalk with Me. He hired his brother Joe Birbiglia (who does most of his writing for his productions), Ira Glass (who produced the series This American Life), and Seth Barrish (who worked on an independent film that I enjoyed called Margot at the Wedding and is also the co-director of Sleepwalk with Me). Together all of the filmmakers work together to put together a film that is hysterical, yet touching. Birbiglia is himself being so nerdy and quirky and it is a masterpiece. Ambrose is also great at being the loving girlfriend to him but also does well at being concerned about him. Also both Rebhorn and Kane are funny at being the quirky parents. Kane’s character always mentions something over ordering a cake on the internet a bunch of times in this film. The funny part is when you watch the film there is generally a few party scenes. Then during the party scenes your like “Of course, she ordered a cake from the internet.” It is so sappy and inspirational you will want to cry at the end.
Sleepwalk with Me is great. Especially for any fans of stand-up comedy out there. This a film you do not want to miss. I also highly encourage seeing Birbiglia live. His style of stand-up comedy will change your life. I would not miss it for the world. Four stars.