Keen on becoming a stand-up comedian, a US bartender's quest for success is hindered by his increasingly dangerous sleepwalking habits in this semiautobiographical drama written, directed by and starring Mike Birbiglia. The film offers a decent insight into the behind-the-scenes of stand-up comedy (though Nora Ephron's 'This Is My Life' is still arguably the go-to film for that) and many of the sleepwalking incidents are amusing. Unfortunately, however, Birbiglia's sleepwalking is never central to the film. The majority of screen time is spent on him experiencing cold feet after he is pressured into committing to his longtime girlfriend, and while this is obviously important as a possible cause of his sleepwalking, all of the related domestic drama is very much by the books. Carol Kane and James Rebhorn certainly have their bright moments as Birbiglia's at-times suffocating parents, but the film is more dynamic in the precious few scenes in which Birbiglia is asleep. These sections come particularly well edited as they fluidly bounce between his dreams and the actual actions he is performing, such as balancing dangerously on the edge of a box and taking a shower fully clothed. It would be interesting to learn what actual sleepwalkers make of the film. While inspired by true events, quite a lot of here has clearly been exaggerated, and yet the film also manages to offer some curious insights into the researched causes of unusual sleep habits. Is it all a matter of not eating big meals, using technology or listening to the news before bed? We might never know for sure.
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