Stand-up comedian Mike Birbiglia directs and stars in “Sleepwalk With Me,” an autobiographical movie based on his one-man Off-Broadway show in 2008. The film captivates viewers with its quick, comedic wit and relatable characters.
The movie begins with a monologue by Birbiglia’s character, Matt Pandamiglio, while he is driving his car. One night, while bartending, Pandamiglio meets an agent who gets him gigs in colleges and small bars. His performances in this movie, however, fall flat.
Things get complicated for Pandamiglio when his sister Janet (Cristin Milioti) gets married. He realizes that he is terrified of marriage, but that doesn’t stop him from proposing to his girlfriend, Abby (Lauren Ambrose). As Pandamiglio’s comedic status rises and his wedding date approaches, his anxiety skyrockets and translates into a dangerous bout of sleepwalking.
Bibiglia’s sharp humor and unapologetic statements about life, love and identity make his character not just funny, but relatable and tangible. The plotline is not very original, but the humor makes the plain story come to life. Additionally, the awkward on-screen chemistry between Bibiglia and Ambrose makes their relationship look authentic and funny through their similar, no-nonsense humor.
The ensemble adds flavor to the story, though some of them, like Pandamaglio’s extremely talkative mother (Carol Kane), and tough, serious father (James Rebhorn), are forgettable archetypes. Birbiglia’s no-nonsense humor shines the most when he is performing alone, which will remind fans of the success his one-man show had.
“Sleepwalk With Me” presents a story and challenges we can all relate to, such as dealing with insecurity. The movie’s success lies mainly within Bibiglia’s careful directing and clever wit. His sleepwalking scenes are hilarious, and the closing monologue is the perfect combination of humor and the discussion of relatable real-life issues that leaves the audience wanting more.
Overall rating: 3.5 stars
Comedian Matt Birbiglia directs and stars in this witty comedy.