Resin Heroes

Sleepwalk with Me Movie Review

Grade B: For a few years now I’ve been a fan of comedian/storyteller Mike Birbiglia and was interested in his one man show turned movie Sleepwalk with Me. The movie’s in theaters now and is also available to rent on-demand.

In Sleepwalk with Me, Birbiglia essentially plays a semi-fictionalized version of himself as up and coming comedian Matt Pandamiglio. Though Matt’s comedy start is rocky, he finds success by delving into his real-life issues for comedy bits. The downside of this success is that Matt’s constantly on the road spending time away from his girlfriend turned fiance Abby (Lauren Ambrose).

The stress of building this career and planning for marriage manifests itself in Matt via episodes of sleepwalking, most of which are played in the movie for laughs.

In one episode, Matt wins the “Dustbuster Olympics” and in another enjoys a pizza pillow which got me laughing so hard I nearly choked. But as the episodes continue and Matt’s more and more successful and stressful career is combined with he and Abby reconsidering their relationship with one and other, Matt’s sleepwalking takes a nasty turn where he almost kills himself leaping from a second floor hotel window in the middle of the night.

I can totally relate to Birbiglia’s story, I’ve been an on-again/off-again sleepwalker for most of my life. I’ve never climbed furniture or leaped from hotels, my episodes usually involve waking in my living room after running out of my bedroom convinced some sort of creature was in there with me. But I’ve also shared that feeling with Birbiglia of slowly awakening someplace other than in bed and coming to the realization that “it’s happened again.”

While seeing Birbiglia’s sleepwalking on-screen as he sees it in his dream is hilarious, there’s also an underlying sense in the film that while sleepwalking might sometimes be funny to outsiders, to Birbiglia it’s something that he must struggle with on a daily basis to control it rather than having it control him.