Starring Mike Barbiglia, Lauren Ambrose and James Rebhorn. Written by Mike Barbiglia and Joe Barbiglia. Directed by Mike Barbiglia and Seth Barrish. Produced by Brian Bedol, Ira Glass, Jacob Jaffke, Mike Lavoie, Ken Lerer, Alissa Shipp and Jen Stein.
For a movie that's supposed to be about a man's sleeping disorder and life as an aspiring stand-up comic, Sleepwalk With Me doesn't give much insight to either. Rather, it stays within familiar territory and focuses on his personal life and relationships, mainly his fear of commitment, never delving into the potentially interesting angles. Based on his own experience trying to make it, Barbiglia writes, directs and stars in this loosely based memoir and only further proves that people shouldn't act out their own writing – he gives a self-conscious performance that with the exception of a few awkwardly funny moments, comes off as flat and ingenuine.
We're introduced to Matt (Barbiglia), the jaded bartendar of a comedy club, who's been trying to advance his stagnant career as a comic for years and is caught at a crossroads in his 8-year relationship with his girlfriend, Abby (Ambrose). As far as the audience is concerned, Abby is a loving, patient, supportive partner- she assures him he's good, laughs at all of his jokes when no one else does, helps him convince an agent to sign him, etc. Still, Matt can't see a future with her and whines about her to the audience during his many onscreen narrative asides, but never actually reveals these feelings to her. Instead, he uses these feelings as anecdotes and jokes in his routine at the request of an already established comedian, and starts to book more shows and really take off. With this success comes more pressure and stress and his strange sleepwalking happens more frequently and becomes more severe and Matt knows he'll have to face his fears and get his life where he wants it to be.
All the while, Matt is supposed to remain a likeable character, which is where the movie may have benefitted being written by someone else, maybe someone who wasn't afraid to be a little edgy or make the audience hate him once in a while. Instead, Sleepwalk With Me ends up being a forgettably safe comedy with a few humorously self-deprecating moments that fails to shed light on anything we haven't seen before. —Rebecca Hillary