Matt's small-club routine is stale until he stumbles into telling his own relationship woes: The audience howls, and he expands his act. Now, he actually plays to appreciative crowds, but the home front is not amused.
His controlling, physician Dad (James Rebhorn) hectors him to confront a serious sleep disorder and get on with a real life, while his dithering mother (Carol Kane) pushes the marriage program.
Birbiglia's deft, breezy treatment of a serious relationship disorder, as well as a serious neurological sleeping problem, jells wonderfully. The comedy percolates in large part because of the likable lead performances of Birbiglia, whose easy self-deprecating ways overcoats Matt's character flaws.
As his steadfast partner, Ambrose is a zesty antidote, who swallows her pain with perky resolve.
Carol Kane is a hoot as Matt's nattering mother, and Rebhorn is amusingly cantankerous as the domineering dad.
Credit to co-writers Birbiglia and Ira Glass for the frothy distillation of one man's pain. Birbiglia and co-director Seth Barrish keep the comedy from tilting into pathos, while maintaining a steady hand on the complex relationship issues which inspire the mirth.
The technical contributions are tops, from editor Geoffrey Richman's invigorating pace to cinematographer Adam Beckman's comic eye for framing. Credit costume designer Ciera Wells for Matt's apt, hang-dog duds.
Film review'Sleepwalk with Me'
What: When an aspiring stand-up comic fails to express his true feelings about his girlfriend and his stalled career, his anxiety comes out in increasingly funny and dangerous sleepwalking incidents.
Where playing: Cinema Center
Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Star rating: Not available