13. Sleepwalk With Me
Director: Mike Birbiglia
Stars: Mike Birbiglia, Lauren Ambrose, James Rebhorn, Carol Kane, Cristin Milioti, Aya Cash, Marc Maron, David Wain, Kristen Schaal, Henry Phillips
Having just (barely) endured the mostly unfunny stupidity of The Babymakers, your trusty SXSW Complex film head needed a comedy that, you know, actually provided genuine humor and didn’t make us want to venture to the nearest exit. Even under more positive circumstances, though, stand-up comedian Mike Birbiglia’s directorial debut—the personal, fictionalized pseudo-memoir Sleepwalk With Me—would still be a rousing success, though Birbiglia deserves some inadvertent credit post-Babymakers.
Closely based on his own battles with romantic commitment and sleepwalking, all of which has been covered in his on-stage jokes, Birbiglia’s film centers on Matt, a struggling comedian (played by Birbiglia himself) who tends the bar at a local comedy club while dodging marriage to his loving and extremely patient eight-year girlfriend (Lauren Ambrose).
As his career slowly picks up, Matt questions both his relationship and his life even more, and it’s all told with the Birbiglia’s usual dry, unassuming sensibilities—his pleasantness and warmth give Birbiglia a sympathetic edge from the first scene onward. With its subtle humor and likeable sweetness, Sleepwalk With Me is the kind of comedy that easily wins you over by simply appreciating its own characters and simplicities, right down to the film’s honest, bittersweet, yet happy ending.