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The This American Life comedian embarks on a dream odyssey that is as bumbling as it is somehow charming...
MPI / 81 Minutes / 2012 / Unrated / Street Date: December 18, 2012
Mike Birbiglia wants to find himself. In Sleepwalk With Me, we get a partly fictionalized, mostly true-to-source reflection of the comic's difficulties finding his even keel with the career path he's chosen, an act that inspires sleepwalking so bad that the dude has been known to jump out a window while in his somnambulant state (talk about self-sabotage...).
He has a girlfriend (Lauren Ambrose) who is almost impossibly supportive of his angst-ridden quests for funny-ha-ha redemption, not much money, a developing - yet not quite established - sense of self-worth: in Sleepwalk With Me, Birbiglia is a man at the early stages of a grand journey, one riddled with landmines that don't explode on contact as much as they save their depth-charges for Birbiglia's sleep cycles.
Co-written by Ira Glass, Sleepwalk With Me has a decidedly NPR-esque feel and sensibility to it, so your penchant for public radio will absolutely influence your ability to stomach Sleepwalk With Me. As a standalone movie, it showcases moments of goofy truth, but - like Glass' This American Life - a patina of pretense hangs heavy over the thing. It's frequently diverting, and Birbiglia himself is a noble subject, but even if Sleepwalk With Me works for the most part, its narrative hiccups are enough to keep its dramatic and comedic charms finite.