|Sundance London Review: Sleepwalk with Me|
|Written by Ivan Radford|
|Saturday, 27 April 2013 10:48|
Director: Mike Birbiglia, Seth Barrish
”I’m going to tell you a story and it’s true.” That’s Matt Pandamiglio (Birbiglia) talking to the camera about himself in a film about himself. A self-obsessed neurotic guy, he narrates his midlife crisis to us like a lowbrow Woody Allen. And every now and then, he runs around the bedroom in his sleep, convinced he’s fighting a jackal.
It’s a trait that’s starting to worry his girlfriend, Abby (Ambrose). She wants to get married. He doesn’t. He’s too busy touring the country as a failed stand-up comedian. It’s awkward.
And that’s what Birbiglia captures so well. From bombing an act in a pub full of 12 people to dealing with his interfering parents, it all hums with the awkwardness of reality. It sounds self-indulgent – and it is. But that’s the idea: based on his own one-man show (and book), Birbiglia lets his alter-ego take over, filtering the whole messy narrative through his egotistical flair and self-deprecating sincerity. You don’t even ask why things are being filmed on a handheld camera: of course they are. Because that’s what Matt Pandamiglio would do.
Wrapping up in a swift 90 minutes, Sleepwalk with Me is a disorganised stumble through the mundanity of existence that frequently crosses the line between annoying and funny. As a tribute to the narcissistic nature of stand-up comedy, it never puts a foot wrong. You get the sense that Mike Birbiglia could do this with his eyes closed.
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