Film review: SLEEPWALK WITH ME, from Built For Speed

Sleepwalk With Me is a gentle but not particularly funny romantic comedy written and directed by and starring This American Life’s Mike Birbiglia.

He plays the pudgy, doleful 30-something Matt Pandamiglio, a wanna-be stand-up comedian whose career has advanced to the point of mopping up vomit in a bar.  Averse to adult responsibility, he has also spent eight years dodging the question of marriage to girlfriend Abby (Lauren Ambrose). When his bullying physician father (James Rebhorn) demands that he make something of himself, he throws himself into his stand-up comedy career but in the process only causes more chaos in his relationship with Abby.  Complicating matters is Matt’s sleepwalking condition called REM behaviour disorder where the normal REM sleep paralysis isn’t present causing Matt to act out his dreams even to the point of jumping through a window.

With its neurotic central protagonist, faltering relationships, trendy New York milieu and sardonic voice-over, this semi-autobiographical film seemingly tries to evoke Annie Hall-era Woody Allen.  Unfortunately, Sleepwalk with Me lacks the inventiveness, intellectual depth and consistent humour of Woody’s movies.  After a few amusing moments early on this film soon runs out of puff and becomes repetitive and mostly unfunny.

Birbiglia really needed another set of eyes on the script as it lacks momentum and leaves loose threads dangling such as the fallout of a one night stand Matt has with a Hooters waitress.

Apart from a smattering of laughs, some ok quirky indie music typical of low budget American rom-coms and a few insights into neurotic male behaviour and the struggles of stand-up comedians, there’s little to recommend Sleepwalk with Me.


Nick’s rating: Two and a half stars.

Classification: M.

Director(s): Mike Birbiglia, Seth Barrish

Release date: 4th April 2013

Running time: 81 mins.


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