Arts & Culture Editor
A man is running from something through a field. He informed that he has come in first place. He hops up on the stand to receive some flowers. But he hasn’t won anything and he’s not in a field. He’s actually standing on his TV stand. Matt Pandamiglio is sleepwalking, and as the film Sleepwalk With Me goes on, these scenarios get more and more elaborate.
The Ware Center Film Series showed Sleepwalk With Me at five and then again at seven-thirty on February 11th.
Comedian Mike Birbiglia stars as the title character. He’s a guy you’ve probably never heard of, but he could be on the rise. He brings a dry style to his comedy that could be compared to Paul Rudd. (He even sounds like Rudd at times). Sleepwalk with Me began as a one-man show performed off-Broadway at the Bleecker Street Theatre in New York City. He really does have Rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder and he used the material from his life to make the movie.
While the sleepwalking element plays a role in the film the real story is about his blossoming career and his relationship. He has been with Abby for eight years, and she wants to get married. He’s not quite ready yet, but when Matt goes sits down to watch TV he sees all the marriage and baby shows she has recorded and he realizes how serious she is. He wants to spend more time working on his comedy career, because at the beginning of the movie he’s just a bartender.
At first his stand up is terrible, and the film does a good job of showing what it’s like at an open mic night. It’s both funny, sad, and cringe inducing watching him struggle on stage. He even repeats the same jokes that failed once before and they don’t work the second time either. It’s only when he starts to make jokes about his relationship that he actually starts getting laughs. “I don’t want to get married until I know that nothing else good can happen in my life,” Matt jokes.
He gets more and more gigs and is now driving hundreds of miles to bars, clubs, and colleges performing his stand up. He is clearly exhausted but he doesn’t seem to mind the time he spends away from his girlfriend.
His girlfriend seems great, but he just bored with their relationship. It doesn’t help that his sister is getting married and his family is putting the pressure on him to do the same. The dialogue made the movie seem real, and the situation is something that people can relate to. Relationships can grow stale, and people just stay together because that’s all they know.
While the sleepwalking elements are bizarre and hilarious the tone of the movie is very truthful and real.