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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent film full of bittersweet comedy
I've seen Mike Birbiglia in a few stand up broadcasts, but really knew nothing about him, except that I liked his laconic, stutter-step approach to delivering his material. He seemed like a funny guy who also happened to be sorta nice too. I knew nothing about his book, Ira Glass appearances or one-man off-Broadway show. That's probably a good thing, because I was able...
Published on September 26, 2012 by RMurray847

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not so funny
After hearing rave reviews of the movie and a radio interview with Mike Birbiglia, I was prepared for lots of laughs as he shared his experiences with sleepwalking. There were some funny moments, but for the most part, the movie was pretty dry. I gave it three stars for his unvarnished honesty in telling his story and sharing the frustrating and dangerous world of the...
Published 21 months ago by Boje


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent film full of bittersweet comedy, September 26, 2012
By 
RMurray847 (Albuquerque, NM United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Sleepwalk with Me (DVD)
I've seen Mike Birbiglia in a few stand up broadcasts, but really knew nothing about him, except that I liked his laconic, stutter-step approach to delivering his material. He seemed like a funny guy who also happened to be sorta nice too. I knew nothing about his book, Ira Glass appearances or one-man off-Broadway show. That's probably a good thing, because I was able to enjoy SLEEPWALK WITH ME pretty much on its own terms.

Apparently this movie is quite autobiographical, even though Mike has changed his character's name to Matt. But Mike/Matt frequently talks directly to the camera, and we're assured the story is true...so it's almost impossible not to assume that we're basically seeing a (perhaps exaggerated) take on Birbiglia's life. But it doesn't really matter either...the story is compelling and says some interesting things about relationships and about how a stand-up comic builds their career literally from the ground up.

Matt is in an 8-year relationship with Abby (Lauren Ambrose, who is wonderful). Abby is a great girl, and everyone (both viewer and the characters on screen) have to wonder why Matt is having a hard time settling down and committing to a marriage with her. But as Matt says, he's unhappy that everyone says the best thing about him is his girlfriend. It's true. He's a bartender who wants to do stand-up. Or at least, he thinks he does...he gets almost no opportunities to try. His life and his relationship is on hold. Abby is faithful and patient, but also growing frustrated. Surely she is wondering what more she can give of herself to this man who trembles at the thought of marrying her.

One day, with Abby's help, Matt actually gets an agent. And the agent begins to give Matt tiny gigs. Gigs that barely cover the cost of gas and food to get there. But Matt wades in, ready to try out his meager material. He's actually a pretty terrible comedian, but he's willing to do just about any lousy gig he can get. He is excited at his new life on the road (there's a great scene when he checks into his first flea-bag motel and is clearly THRILLED).

Abby remains in NYC, but is supportive. Matt continues to limp along until he gets the advice of a more successful peer to use his personal conflicts as fodder for his material. Suddenly, his material connects with the audience, and his success grows. He loves life on the road. And thus, his distance from Abby grows.

Meanwhile, he also suffers from severe sleepwalking, where he gets out of bed and runs from the creatures that are chasing him in his dreams. His dreams of running seem to coincide with this waking fear of commitment. Of a "normal" life chasing him down.

Matt frequently behaves poorly, but Birbiglia is so specific in showing us details of his life, that we tend to sympathize with him, even as we wish he would pull himself together. At one point, before showing us some really poor behavior, Matt turns to the camera and says "before I show you this next part...remember, you're on my side." And he's right, we are.

We're also on Abby's side and that's what gives this movie such a rich, bittersweet quality. We yearn for them to find happiness...yet we see how elusive that is going to be. Birbiglia directs the film, and he shows an adept touch for little details and telling dialogue. I'm not ready to say he's a great director, because so far, he's only used his own life as material...but I'd be prepared to see more of his work.

SLEEPWALK WITH ME is very funny at times. It's very raw at times. It can frequently be surprising (the details of his sleep disorder are fascinating). It's a very adult film (the language is relatively mild though). It is VERY well acted (including great support from James Rebhorn and Carol Kane as Matt's parents). The dialogue is sharp, and few words are wasted. Almost every line is significant.

It's not a perfect film. Sometimes the pace drags...it felt longer than its 90 minutes. It occasionally struggles to reconcile its varying tones. I like movies that shift tone, but I like to feel the director MEANT for the tone to shift...sometimes I think it does despite Birbiglia's efforts. But these are fairly minor complaints and I'd give the film 4.5 stars.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bitter-sweet and funny at the same time, September 7, 2012
This review is from: Sleepwalk with Me (DVD)
"Sleepwalk With Me" (2012 US release; 90 min.) brings the story of Matt (played by Mike Birbiglia) as he struggles with a sleep disorder and tries to salvage his long-time relationship with Abby (played by Lauren Ambrose). Abby wants to get married, badly. Matt, not so much. Abby is looking for any sign from Matt that he will propose, which he eventually does, after an emotional side trip that makes him feel guilty and ashamed. Parallel to all of this, we see Matt getting his start on the stand-up comedy circuit, and barely hnaging on. Then, one day, he makes a funny quip about his failing relationship with Abby, and wouldn't you know, the audience eats it up! I don't want to give more away, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Several comments: first and foremost, even though he plays a character called "Matt", this story is based on Mike Birbiglia's own life experiences (in fact, before this became a movie, this was an unexpected off-Broadway hit play). Birbiglia not only stars but also co-wrote and co-directed the movie. Second, the movie makes the most of the shoestring budget on which this obviously was made, and I was pleasantly surprised how well it all flowed. Last but not least, the overall tione of the movie is very much bitter-sweet (to me at least). When I saw this in the theatre a few days ago (at the Landmark E Street Cinema in Washington, DC), there were a number of people who were laughing out loud in many parts of the movie. I never felt quite that way. Yes, there are funny moments in it, but when all is said and done, this movie documents a failing relationship and a serious disorder, so how truly laugh-out-loud funny is that?

Besides Bribiglia, who obviously carries the movie (and quite well at that), the support cast is nothing short of terrific, including the already mentioned Lauren Ambrose as his girlfriend, but equally if not even more so James Reborn and Carol Kane as his parents. They make the most of the limited screen time they have. This movie is MILES away from your standard Hollywood fare, but if you are in the mood for something quirky and slightly left of center, "Sleepwalk WIth Me" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not so funny, January 14, 2013
By 
Boje (Silverdale, WA United States) - See all my reviews
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After hearing rave reviews of the movie and a radio interview with Mike Birbiglia, I was prepared for lots of laughs as he shared his experiences with sleepwalking. There were some funny moments, but for the most part, the movie was pretty dry. I gave it three stars for his unvarnished honesty in telling his story and sharing the frustrating and dangerous world of the sleepwalker.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just More Info About Mike Birbiglia, June 23, 2014
I agree with the one Amazon reviewer who found this movie sad and not funny. I also agree with him that I feel I have to apologize to Mike Birbiglia for not really liking this film, because I really like Mike Birbiglia's comedy, although I did learn a lot more about Mike Birbiglia and his relationship to his girlfriend.

I also know something about sleepwalking and sleep disturbances, having my own small share of problems in this arena. It is very good to turn off all entertainment a couple of hours before sleep, to disconnect from the electronic world and prepare for a good night's sleep.

I give this movie three stars just because it's about Mike Birbiglio who has such a gift for telling stories about his life, but there was nothing to laugh about in this film. The actress who plays Mike's girlfriend was terrific. If she was anything like the real girlfriend, I can understand why breaking up was hard to do.

The actors who play Mike's parents in this film didn't look or sound particularly Italian. I was disappointed that Mike's Italian background wasn't explored at all in this autobiographical work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Matt Pandemiglio is not as funny as Mike Birbiglia, even though they look identical and both sleepwalk, February 27, 2014
By 
Hobbes (Fargo, North Dakota) - See all my reviews
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Like many other reviewers, I think Mike Birbiglia is a phenomenal comedian and story teller. Within that work he shares very personal and embarrassing stories that come out hilarious when he tells them. So, like many other reviewers, I almost feel the need to apologize before being critical of his work. Recently I saw Mike Birbiglia's Thank God for Jokes at the Fargo Theatre, which was the best comedy I have ever seen. He had me in stitches, AND he made me feel better about my own embarrassing moments to boot. After that great set, "Sleepwalk With Me" was, to borrow language from another reviewer, a bittersweet chaser.

First of all, the protagonist in the movie is named Matt Pandemiglio, which is awkward, because the film is clearly autobiographical. Was Mike Birbiglia just not willing to own his story on the big screen? Why the face, Mike? It does not get any less awkward when "Matt" narrates in first-person between scenes. The whole thing was awkward, largely because the title gave me the wrong expectations. When I casually streamed "Sleepwalk with Me" to my living room, I was half expecting a sleepwalk documentary and half expecting something funny. The movie met neither expectation, though it does contain elements of both sleepwalking and comedy. Overall, I would have been less disappointed if the title had been better at cluing me in as to what I was about to see. Perhaps, "Mike Birbiglia's Grotesquely Unreasonable Courtship of Abby and How It Turned Him into a Great Standup Comedian," or "This Is Not So Much a Funny Movie about Sleepwalking As It Is a Sad Movie about Mike Birbiglia, Who Is Someone Who Is Funny and also Sleepwalks."

Every review I read on Amazon has totally nailed this movie. Great for Birbiglia fans, but not great for documentary or stand up comedy fans. You are not going to learn much about sleepwalking from this film, except that one should avoid excessive stimulation and overeating before going to bed. And there is not a whole lot of laugh-out-loud comedy. The comedy is all dark. Do not get me wrong: Birbiglia has a lot of heart for sharing the story of Abby and how he became successful. I liked it because I am such a huge Mike Birbigliography fan, but that is all it is about.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sleepwalk With Me., April 18, 2013
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A funny comedy about a man with a serious medical problem while we get observe his life. It's something to watch before considering marriage.
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4.0 out of 5 stars I was already familiar with a lot of the material but that didn't diminish my enjoyment of the film, October 14, 2014
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I have been a fan of "Birbigs" since I heard an interview of him on NPR's Fresh Air. He is a recurring guest on another public radio show, This American Life, which is produced by Ira Glass. So when I heard that the movie had been released, I wanted to go see it, but the closest theater showing it was in Atlanta, a 2 hour drive from my home. I was already familiar with a lot of the material but that didn't diminish my enjoyment of the film. The script seems to be largely autobiographical, even though his character (Matt Pandemiglia) and presumably most of the other characters' names have been changed. I found myself wondering if it had been emotionally painful for him to have to relive some of dramatic moments. All in all, I was very pleased with the movie, as I am sure any fan of Mike or TAL will be. I only wish it had been longer, but there are plenty of You Tube videos of Birbiglia's stand-up routines to watch to fill the void.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not terrible, but not very funny, April 10, 2014
For a comedy, this movie was awfully short on laughs. I saw that it had gotten excellent reviews, so I figured I'd check it out. What I saw was a movie that very slowly moved to no particular conclusion. I get that he had to hone his comedy to routine to a more honest one, that he and his girlfriend weren't right for each other, and that he had sleep problems, but it doesn't provide the grounds to make a movie. However, this is certainly not a particularly bad movie, but I wouldn't recommend it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Don't miss this!, February 9, 2014
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This review is from: Sleepwalk With Me (DVD)
Hilarious Very entertaining. Great off the wall humor. He says what I am in thinking in those situations. Very funny
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5.0 out of 5 stars Birbiglia is an extraordinary storyteller., January 4, 2014
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This review is from: Sleepwalk With Me (DVD)
A great date movie. Not every love story ends happily. I highly recommend this movie to all age groups of viewers.
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Sleepwalk With Me [Blu-ray]
Sleepwalk With Me [Blu-ray] by Mike Birbiglia (Blu-ray - 2012)
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