Film Review: SLEEPWALK WITH ME

Written by Seth Barrish, Mike and Joe Birbiglia and Ira Glass
Starring: Mike Birbiglia, Lauren Ambrose, Cristin Milioti, Loudon Wainwright III, Carol Kane

There have been surprisingly few movies about life on the road as a standup comic. Documentaries, like the recent ones about Seinfeld and Joan Rivers, yes. But feature films are rare. This was a pretty good one. It was based on Birbiglia’s experiences as a standup and started life as a segment of NPR’s THIS AMERICAN LIFE.

PLOT: Matt (Birbiglia) has a beautiful and supportive girlfriend, Abby (Ambrose) but not much else is going right for him. His desire to be a standup comic doesn’t mesh with the talent he displays, In fact, after years of preparation, he only has eleven minutes of material when he is asked to fill in on stage at the bar where he mixes drinks. And those eleven minutes are painful. Additionally he has developed a sleep disorder in which he acts out his dream. Sometimes it’s just a scream or a simulation of a man making breakfast, but at other times, he jumps out windows. Is this disorder part of his inability to succeed as a comedian or to make a commitment to Abby?

He acquires an agent who books him on college campuses for minuscule amounts of money. Pressed for material one night, he begins to talk about his romantic life and gets some laughs. Of course, how Abby will feel about being the subject of his routine remains to be seen.

This was a likable if a bit underwhelming film. Is being on the road constantly, playing the tiniest of venues, something a sane person should want? Are getting laughs from drunks worth the endless Red Roof Inns and greasy spoon diners? I guess so.

Patti
Be sure to stop by http://www.pattinase.blogspot.com/ to check out Forgotten Books every Friday as well as other thoughts, comments and reviews. A collection of her stories, Monkey Justice (Snubnose Press) can be found on Amazon