“Sleepwalk With Me” was a lot like a dream because the story didn’t really have a concrete purpose but deep down had deep philosophical meanings…and it was funny as heck.
The story unfolds with Mike Pandamiglio (Mike Birbiglia), a down-on-his-luck comic, giving the audience a quick glimpse into his less-than-stellar life. His dreams of becoming a stand up comedian are waning are dashed by the fact that he’s not that funny and his girlfriend wants to get married but Mike, not so much. To make matters worst, the stress seems to be coming out in the form of REM disorder, better known as sleepwalking. Now, pressuring girlfriends and faltering careers are the least of Mike’s escalating problems.
Mike Birbiglia is one of my favorite comics. He has such a dry sense of humor that can make just about anything funny. “Sleepwalk With Me” is a sweet and touching story that is relatable to just about every human being on the planet. Birbiglia does a fantastic job as Mike Padamiglio. He brings such realness to the character and his dreams have to be the best part of the movie. I think my favorite part is when Padamiglio’s material finally comes together. He talks about how much he hates the idea of marriage and his girlfriend. He feels ashamed about his subject but at the same time it invigorates him. Lauren Ambrose was fantastic as Padamiglio’s girlfriend Abby. She brought such a sweetness and vulnerability that you fall in love with her character from the beginning and Birbiglia and Ambrose’s chemistry makes their characters all the more believable.
Birbiglia does a fabulous job as a freshman director. He does a great job seguing from dream to reality and he’s been able to coax truly impressive performances out of his actors. The strongest and strangely the weakest part of the film is the script, also by Mr. Birbiglia. What I loved about the script was that the dream and reality blended so nicely. I think the vagueness of the story represented the very essence of a dream. Sometimes the story doesn’t seem to progress whatsoever but yet there is still deep meaning behind the dream. That’s exactly what “Sleepwalk With Me” was able to do capture.
Unfortunately, this is the exact reason that I couldn’t feel completely invested in the story was because it never really seemed to go anywhere. Birbiglia’s sleepwalking needed to have a bigger part in the movie. It seemed this infliction came on as a result of stress but these incidences never had a real purpose.
“Sleepwalk With Me” may have its flaws, but what movie doesn’t. I think this movie is a great freshman outing for Mike Birbiglia and I would love more than anything to see what he does as a sophomore filmmaker.
– Joe D.