Sleepwalk with Me

  • Review Date: September 11, 2012
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2012

Common Sense Media says

Comedian faces sleep disorders and girlfriend troubles.
  • Review Date: September 11, 2012
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2012

Age(i)

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The main character spends most of the movie avoiding his problems -- namely, his sleepwalking and his relationship troubles -- though in the end, he reaches a point at which he faces and conquers them. He also learns to improve his comedy by making it personal, rather than simply writing jokes.

Positive role models

The main character seems like a good person, though he does a few questionable things, like cheating on his girlfriend. He requires some drastic intervention and inspiration before he's able to face and overcome his life's challenges. Teens hoping to be comedians will be interested in the way the character improves his act over the course of the movie.

Violence

While sleepwalking, the main character jumps out of a window and cuts his legs on the broken glass; viewers see some blood. There are somewhat violent dream sequences in which a character brandishes a gun, though it isn't fired. Characters sometimes argue as well.

Sex

In a flashback, the main character meets his future girlfriend. They kiss and plan for their first sexual experience, though nothing is shown. In the present day, while on the road, a woman flirts with and kisses the main character. He decides to cheat on his girlfriend with this woman. They have sex in his car, though nothing is shown except steamy windows and some movement. The woman is also shown wearing a "Hooters" T-shirt. The main character talks about sex in his act, but nothing very vulgar.

Language

One "f--k" and one "s--t"; also "goddamn," "damn," "hell," "boobs," and "oh my God."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The main character works as a bartender and makes drinks for others in several scenes. Characters drink wine at family gatherings. Comedians drink beer together after a show. The main character gets drunk before deciding to have sex and cheat on his girlfriend.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Sleepwalk with Me is an independent dramedy co-written by, co-directed by, and starring comedian Mike Birbiglia, based on his one-man show, which is in turn based on events from his life as a chronic sleepwalker. The movie depicts the main character's dreams, which can sometimes be violent -- in one scene, for example, he jumps out a window and cuts his legs on the broken glass (blood is shown). Another dream features a gun. The character kisses two women, his girlfriend in a flashback, and another woman on the road. Sex is implied, but not shown. Language is very light; only one "s--t" is heard coming from a TV set, and "goddamn" is used. There's some social drinking, with characters occasionally getting drunk.

Parents say

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Kids say

What's the story?

Matt (Mike Birbiglia) wants to be a comedian but instead works as a bartender. He does have a great girlfriend, Abby (Lauren Ambrose), though after eight years together, his parents (James Rebhorn and Carol Kane), family, and friends start to wonder why they aren't getting married. At the same time, Matt begins sleepwalking, which quickly turns dangerous. But before he can face any of these problems, he starts getting comedy work on the road. Traveling around and sleeping in hotel rooms, his problems only get worse. It takes a particularly scary sleepwalking dream about jumping out of a window to make Matt wake up and take action.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Birbiglia is a likeable, almost cuddly comedian, who -- amazingly -- uses almost no profanity in his act. Co-written with Ira Glass, the host and producer of National Public Radio's "This American Life," and with Birbiglia's brother Joe, SLEEPWALK WITH ME is based on Birbiglia's life, specifically dealing with his sleepwalking problem and his relationship troubles. Birbiglia occasionally narrates the events with a funny viewpoint, but after that, the movie is a sweetly effective drama.

Much of the credit goes to Ambrose, who brings heart and humanity to her role. She makes it seem realistic that this couple could stay together even though Matt is such a sad sack. But it's not until the movie's second half that it really picks up momentum and builds drama; the first half is stuck in a holding pattern, taking too long to establish the characters. But by the time Sleepwalk with Me crosses the finish line, it's difficult not to genuinely like everyone involved.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why Matt's comedy improves when he begins talking about his life, rather than making up jokes about TV shows. What makes audiences connect with him?

  • Why would Matt agree to have sex with the girl in the bar when he knows how much it would hurt his girlfriend and their relationship?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 24, 2012
DVD release date:December 18, 2012
Cast:Carol Kane, James Rebhorn, Lauren Ambrose, Mike Birbiglia
Directors:Mike Birbiglia, Seth Barrish
Studio:IFC Entertainment
Genre:Comedy
Run time:81 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:some sexual content and brief language

This review of Sleepwalk with Me was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 17 years old Written byBestPicture1996 August 16, 2013
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

Don't sleep on Birbiglia

This mostly harmless comedy with one brief outburst of profanity is definitely not Hollywood, but Birbiglia casting himself as the lead might have been a mistake. The writing's solid for sure, but a more experienced actor would've sufficed. The gorgeous Lauren Ambrose really takes the cake in this film, playing his loyal but unsure fiancee, and I'm going to love seeing her and Birbiglia go further into their careers to greatness!

What other families should know
Too much swearing

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