I’m going to tell you a story, and it’s true. . . . I always have to tell people that.
So asserts comedian-turned-playwright-turned-filmmaker Mike Birbiglia directly to the viewer at the outset of his autobiographically inspired, fictional feature debut. Birbiglia wears his incisive wit on his sleeve while portraying a cinematic surrogate. We are thrust into the tale of a burgeoning stand-up comedian struggling with the stress of a stalled career, a stale relationship threatening to race out of his control, and the wild spurts of severe sleepwalking he is desperate to ignore.
Based on the successful one-man show, Sleepwalk with Me engages in the kind of passionate and personal storytelling that transfigures intimate anguish into comic art. Bursting with sincerity, Mike Birbiglia’s foray into the medium marks the invigorating emergence of a strong and poignant American voice, at once hilarious and heartbreaking. –Sundance Film Festival
I saw Birbiglia live a few weeks ago and based on how much I enjoyed his show I decided to watch his movie. The movie has a lot going for it. Birbiglia directs some visually funny and bizarre scenes. Surprisingly where this film is lacking is both in pacing and scripting. He's mastered this on stage but I don't think he can translate these talents too well to film....
The movie starts with him stating that a) it's a true story and b) few people believe him when he tells it to them. This is a poor way of opening the film because the story isn't hugely unbelievable. The other issue is that I don't believe it's true. He's changed his name Matt Pandabiglio (?), which is the first lie but it also contradicts the story he told in the live show I saw him do in which he ends up marrying his girlfriend of 8 years... He also wasn't wearing a wedding ring during the show so I find it hard to believe anything he says. But that's not the point of a comic, or a filmmaker for that matter. Both are born liars. The worst offence this film gives is that it isn't very funny. It's occassionally amusing and has some funny moments but for the most part it's depressing. Still it's not a bad debut... it just can't hold a candle to the Woody Allen films that inspired it. I like Birbiglia, a lot... I think he is a hilarious talent, but you wouldn't guess it from this film. 3/5 nice try Mike but better luck next time.
Yeah, I didn't enjoy this at all. Loved the comedy album.The movie doesn't convey the same sense of eccentricity and thrilling danger that Mike Birbiglia was able to do with his spoken word. I just felt "safe" and "clean" the entire time I was watching the movie. And honestly, it wasn't that funny.
An overview of what the critics are saying about the winners.