Sleepwalk with Me, which opens today at the Ritz at the Bourse, is the big screen adaptation of comic Mike Birbiglia’s one-man off-Broadway show. If this name sounds at all familiar that’s probably because Mike is a frequent contributor to This American Life. Sleepwalk with Me is also actually co-written and produced by Ira Glass.
Sleepwalk with Me is the true story that Chronicles Mike’s journey as an aspiring comedian, his relationship with his girlfriend and his strange sleepwalking disorder. See Mike’s girlfriend thinks its time to get married and has begun to apply pressure that maybe its time for Mike to give up trying to be a standup comic. This stress has begun manifesting itself in violent episodes of sleepwalking, where he will act out various dreams.
The film is a lot like an episode of This American Life in that it is a very bittersweet mixture of love, joy and sadness, that tells a very engaging story. Mike Birbiglia is a natural, and since he is also the writer and director on the film it has a certain candidness that is hard ignore and feels more like reading a diary than seeing a film.
The supporting cast here is also pretty stellar, the film being a whose who of comedians and up-and-comers; for bonus points keep an eye out for Ira Glass who cameos in the film in a very Hitchcockian turn. The film does start a little slow but once it gets going it really pulls you in quickly and you can’t look away.
I thoroughly enjoyed the film and like the best episodes of This American Life, Sleepwalk with Me it will have you leaving the theater with a smile on your face and a warmth in your heart. The film tells the story not just of a man overcoming the odds, but how sometimes its in real life is where we find the best comedy. I give Sleepwalk with Me a 4 out of 5 stars. If you’re a This American Life fan like myself, you should really check this out.