Sleepwalk With Me

The first feature film produced by popular NPR radio program This American Life is more or less what you'd expect, given the imprimatur.

Director/cowriter/star Birbiglia is a standup comic who had told his story about his bizarre sleepwalking condition on TAL years ago. Finally, working with TAL creator/host Ira Glass (who coproduced and cowrote this film), Birbiglia transforms his tale into a semi-autobiographical comedy, casting himself as "Matt Pandamiglio", a struggling (and, for a good while, a somewhat terrible) standup comic whose biggest problem is not his sleep disorder but his cold feet in marrying his longtime girlfriend (played with grace by Six Feet Under's Lauren Ambrose).

If the whole thing sounds like a vanity project for Birbiglia – and, to a lesser extent, Glass – you're not totally wrong. But the self-deprecating Birbiglia has a goofy likability, the supporting cast is solid, and there are enough good laughs to dilute the narcissism.

Although this film didn't exactly waste my time, I do think this story may play out best on radio, without actors or dramatics, just Birbiglia spinning his yarn before a quietly astounded Glass. Birbiglia's situation is actually quite sad, but it's almost as though he himself doesn't totally get that.

Sleepwalk With Me is an amusing but minor work that doesn't give us much to identify with or think about afterward. You're better off looking up the old TAL broadcast.