Monday, August 27, 2012

'Sleepwalk' With Mike Birbiglia

On Saturday, we caught a late screening of "Sleepwalk With Me," the film adaptation of comedian Mike Birbiglia's acclaimed off-Broadway show (that I had not seen). It's one of the most understated and charming movies I've seen in years -- our protagonist is sleepwalking through his life both literally and figuratively, not sure what to do about his career (wants to be a comedian but is a bartender in a comedy club), his relationship (eight years and still not married to his girlfriend, played by a particularly adorable Lauren Ambrose) or his increasingly dangerous late-night walks (played to hilarious effect, despite no use of bears). With its soft touch and story-driven humor, the film reeks of National Public Radio  -- Ira Glass of "This American Life" fame cowrote and produced it. Still I can't imagine even the biggest proponent of defunding NPR not completely falling in love with this one -- and by this one I mean Mike Birbiglia. Because they're on a shoestring budget, Birgiglia and Glass did Q&A's after each screening at IFC this weekend to help drum up interest -- they were increasingly loopy by the time our 10:20 p.m. showing ended with a midnight screening still to go -- during which they talked about the challenges of turning the show into a film. One of the biggest surprises was that the original cut wasn't working without the Ferris Bueller-ish talking-to-the-audience narration from the play, so they added it in later. It was a decision that served the film extremely well, as was did the casting of James Rebhorn as Birgiglia's father, who is way funnier than any comedian could ever dream of being!

 To find out if "Sleepwalk With Me" is coming to a theater near you, click HERE. Follow on Twitter HERE. Like on Facebook HERE.


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