08/23/2012 10:36 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Mike Birbiglia's 'Sleepwalk With Me' Movie Adaptation Hits Theaters, Starts A Pattern

Comedian Mike Birbiglia's off-Broadway show "Sleepwalk With Me" hits theaters nationwide this Friday as a film that's already got so much press you might feel like you've already seen it. The absurdist one-man show, which the comedian also turned into a book and album, navigates Birbiglia's bumpy love life, and as the title suggests, how the stress of it affects his sleep patterns.

In the movie, Birbiglia plays a version of himself with a similar name (Matt Pandamiglio), whose tanking relationship with a passive aggressive girlfriend (played by Lauren Ambrose) causes him to start sleepwalking. The ensemble cast also includes Cristin Milioti as Pandamiglio's sister. Milioti is the star of the Tony-winning Broadway musical "Once," and this is her first feature film role.

Lena Dunham, who helped Birbiglia edit the script, described the adaptation to the New York Times as a clearer sell than Birbiglia's meandering stage version, which is punctuated with riffs on monsters and surrealist iPhone apps. She placed it somewhere in the Apatow camp: a "rom-com that [gives] equal weight to the male and female perspective." (Arguably Apatow isn't great at pulling off the latter, we think).

Dunham's not the only heavyweight in Birbiglia's corner. Nathan Lane, an early advocate, co-produced the stage version of "Sleepwalk With Me." And the writer and comedian has had Ira Glass on his side the whole time.

Whether the film's early acceptance by insiders translates into mainstream success may not matter -- earlier this week Birbiglia told IndieWire he's already started adapting his second play, "My Girlfriend's Boyfriend," into a slightly less autobiographical, but still unlucky-in-love-themed, movie sequel.

WATCH a preview for "Sleepwalk With Me":