Birbiglia, who shares directing credits with Seth Barish, narrates this story of comic aspiration, adapted from one-man show he performed in 2008. Although I didn't find the stand-up routines all that funny, the comic's take on his relationship with Abby (Lauren Ambrose), his live-in girlfriend, is well-observed.
Matt and Abby have been together for eight years. She's ready to marry. He's not. Enough said.
About the title? It turns out that Matt is a sleepwalker who acts out the wild scenarios of his dreams while still asleep, a problem that gives the movie its bizarre climax.
Matt's march toward success begins when he receives a bit of advice from comic Marc Maron, who tells him he'd do well to personalize his act. Maron's suggestion stems from an off-hand remark made by Matt, who says he doesn't want to get married until he's sure that nothing else good can happen in his life. Use that, says Maron.
Birbiglia winds up being a likable enough presence to keep us involved, and Ambrose -- familiar from TV's Six Feet Under -- shines as a woman who ignores more than a few signals about Matt's intentions.
The movie's script was written by Birbiglia, his brother Joe, Ira Glass -- of PBS's This American Life -- and director Barish. The screenplay has Matt talking directly to the camera when he needs to elicit sympathy, a gimmick that probably shouldn't work, but does.
A COMEDY THAT'S NOT TO BE BELIEVED