Still of comedian Mike Birbiglia
Sleepwalk With Me
Sundance Film Festival
Director: Mike Birbiglia
Hearing Ira Glass introduce Mike Birbiglia on the radio show This American Life has always brought an anticipatory grin to my face. Birbiglia is a master storyteller, telling confessional tales about his life that are guaranteed to both make you laugh and squirm uncomfortably in your seat from the awkward situations he's always getting into. First spawned as an off-Broadway one-man show, Sleepwalk With Me is a translation of Birbiglia's comedy act adapted for the silver screen, polished to perfection with the help of Ira Glass. Like it should, Sleepwalk With Me begins with Birbiglia's character, Matt Pandamiglio, driving in a car and speaking directly to the camera, starting with his classic opener, "I'm going to tell you a story…and it's true." The overall plot is a collection of the stories from his act, pieced together into a narrative about a self-deprecating bartender who's trying to balance his rising career as a comedian and his increasingly more serious relationship with his girlfriend Abby (Lauren Ambrose), all while struggling with a sleeping disorder that causes him to act out his dreams. Birbiglia's character interrupts here and there to continue narrating the story and go on a few tangents, and the film is intertwined with hilarious clips of his stand-up act—well, "Matt Pandamiglio's" stand-up. Birbiglia fans will recognize all the material from his various media outlets, but don't let this keep you from watching—the film interpretation gives a fresh perspective on the content that I guarantee will leave you laughing, no matter how many times you've heard the jokes.