Sleepwalk With Me
Mike Birbiglia’s real life-cum-standup routine-cum-off-Broadway show-cum-book-cum-movie is now the DVD "Sleepwalk with Me." He wishes he didn’t have such troubled sleep, saying rather that "dreams should be like movies: you just sort of watch ’em."
This lightly fictionalized autobiography of a struggling comic who loves, but doesn’t want to commit, to his longtime girlfriend is "personal and detailed," as co-star Carol Kane notes, as well as sweet, poignant and honest, especially when narrator Mike turns to camera and tells the movie’s audience, "I want to remind you that you’re on my side" right before he betrays Abby.
These meta-acknowledgments successfully pilot Birbiglia’s first film (he’s the star, co-writer and co-director), produced by IFC Films and "This American Life," and co-directed by TAL’s helmsman Ira Glass, who also has a cameo as a wedding photographer. The simple life observations are lovely, such as when ordering pizza Mike is concerned about the pie’s geometry, wanting triangles and worrying that "in the photo it looks like it’s cut into squares."
As in his own reality, Birbiglia’s inability to face the shortcomings in his career and relationships amps up his REM sleep behavior disorder, where his unconscious body walks, runs and finally jumps to flee perceived pursuing jackals, dust-busting Olympians and missiles.
The film won the 2012 Sundance Audience Award, and the DVD features a Writer’s Guild Foundation talk with Birbiglia and Glass moderated by Joss Whedon, audio commentary, a trailer, a "Making Of" piece, outtakes, and behind-the-scenes shorts such as "The Baby," "The Cast," "The Comedians" (including Kristen Schaal, Wyatt Cenac, Jessi Klein), and "With Dr. Dement," a real sleep doctor who plays himself in the movie.
At the end, Mike says folks ask him "are you cured?" to which he replies, "No. But that’s OK."
"Sleepwalk with Me"