Peter Debruge Chief Film CriticIf you’ve ever seen Mike Birbiglia before, whether on stage or screen (or a couple months back, filling in for Jimmy Kimmel), then “The Old Man and the Pool” feels like catching up with an old friend — albeit one with a lot more health problems than you.To be clear: In his latest monologue, Mike Birbiglia is not the old man.
At age 44, it’s a little early for that. But the lower-middle-age comic is plenty worried about his health. Birbiglia’s father had a heart attack at 56.
So did his father’s father. By his telling, when his physician asked him to blow into a device designed to measure his breathing, the results were so weak, the doc thought he might be experiencing a heart attack right there in the examination room.
Birbiglia wasn’t dying, but he delivers the joke so matter-of-factly, it sounds like truth. That’s the key to Birbiglia’s style, which served him well in “The New One” (Birbiglia’s 2018 Broadway show) and “Sleepwalk With Me” (which became what the marketers used to call “a major motion picture”), and which remains the core of his charm this time around as well: He’s casual, favorite-pair-of-jeans comfortable and remarkably skilled at finding profundity in subjects well within arm’s reach of most audiences, like the need to eat better and exercise.When it comes to the relatability of Birbiglia’s material and the self-deprecating fuddy-duddiness of his delivery, one might compare him to Bill Cosby, if that didn’t immediately bring to mind all sorts of creeptastic associations.Read more on variety.com