I listed Sleepwalk With Me as one of the best movies of 2012,
but I never got around to reviewing it. In my avoidance of the big
sequels and comic book movies of 2013, which offer little to anything
new, I went online looking for streaming movies on legitimate, digital
platforms. I ended up seeing this one and decided now was a good time to
write down my thoughts about it.
On a simple level, it's the story of a standup comedian finding his voice or developing his style. There have been a handful of films dealing with this subject like Lenny (1974), Man on the Moon (1999) and more recently Nate & Margaret (2012). The road is probably similar for every comic, but this one by Mike Birbiglia is so authentic and feels so genuine, so first person that it stands above a lot of the others.
It's very funny, quite hilarious. Birbiglia has written something extremely honest that cuts to the core. He's also so clever in his jokes and gags. They're all somehow unique, crazy and creative. Sleepwalk With Me also shows that Birbiglia has great potential as a director. It feels almost effortless for him.
I loved everything about it. The Cosby Show references, the Dustbuster Olympics and even the pizza pillow were all brilliant to me. Birbiglia, even when his character isn't likeable, still manages to be likeable. Supporting performances from Lauren Ambrose, James Rebhorn and Carol Kane are delightful in every sense. As well as other comedians or other comic actors like Alex Karpovsky, Marc Maron and Wyatt Cenac are well used.
The movie could be seen as a longer version of an episode of Louie on FX. I would say cinematically that Birbiglia has just as much if not more going on than Louie C. K.
Five Stars out of Five.
Rated PG-13 for some sexual content and brief language.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 20 mins.