Don’t Think Twice Movie Review
According to DON’T THINK TWICE there are three rules to improv:
1. Say Yes
2. It’s all about the group
3. Don’t Think
This becomes a sacred code when you put yourself in front of an audience without a script nearly every night. The people you work with are massively important and the trust and vulnerability that each one puts into one another is a friendship that extends past the stage. Blending humor with drama, DON’T THINK TWICE effectively deals with relatable and complex emotional responses of overwhelming support and jealousy.
A small improvisational comedy troupe in the vain of Second City called The Commune are constantly working on their passion. Their day jobs include handing out food samples, a delivery boy, a hostess, an improv teacher, and even one who is living off the wealth of her parents. Clearly they are not in it for the money. But they would like their big break. When one of them finally gets asked to join a popular Saturday Night Live type comedy hour, the realization that they may not all make it after all begins to set in.
The six players are: Jack (Keegan-Michael Key – Key and Peele), Samantha (Gillian Jacobs – Community), Miles (Mike Birbiglia – Sleepwalk With Me), Allison (Kate Micucci – Garfunkel and Oates), Lindsay (Tami Sagher – Inside Amy Schumer), Bill (Chris Gerhard – Broad City). These actors all have comedic backgrounds, which gives the picture and characters a far more authentic life. They understand these people and so does the audience.
In 2012, stand up comic turned writer/director/actor Mike Birbiglia received some critical accolades for his first feature film, SLEEPWALK WITH ME, based on his personal life and standup material. I actually prefer this second effort, which proves the comedian has a perceptive eye at observing untapped areas within relationships. He has a far more practical approach that everyone can relate to, perhaps not professionally, but definitely emotionally. These friends are kind and honest even when teasing one about his dying father. Like best friends and family, they will be forgiven for their shortcomings.
The film received an R-rating for language. A perplexing rating that Birbiglia recently brought to attention after the extremely violent and sexual SUICIDE SQUAD was given a PG-13. While I believe the mild R is justified for this independent film that will struggle to find a large audience, I think Birbiglia has an extremely valid point on the lack of rating for the financially backed superhero blockbuster.
As a fan of stand-up comedy and improvisation, I may have enjoyed DON’T THINK TWICE more than most. But its observation on passion, sacrifice, love, kindness, humor, and jealousy make it universal. Two friends wanting the same thing but only one can get it can be seen as early as 2-years old and in as big a stage as reaching for gold in the Olympics. While the three rules might be important when on stage, they are not always practical in life. DON’T THINK TWICE doesn’t hit every note properly or fully, but it is perceptive in its focus. Observant and playful, DON’T THINK TWICE is one of the best films of the year.