Don’t Think Twice Review

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Scraping by in a big city chasing your dreams of hitting it big is a film concept that we’ve seen plenty of times before. Yet while there have been plenty of films about bands or actors trying to make it big and there are a few about stand-up comics trying to hit it big. Enter Mike Birbiglia and his sophomore film, Don’t Think Twice. Does Don’t Think Twice sincerely bring to light the hardship of being an improv comic or does it fail in its attempt to bring this side to light?

Don’t Think Twice hit close to home. Being a graphic designer and a film writer, Don’t Think Twice spoke to me more than any other film I’ve seen. But as much as I saw a lot of myself and my friends in there, the film is still a great dramedy.

Don’t Think Twice follows the members of an improv comedy group, The Commune. The group serves as the occasional launching point for talent looking to work at Weekend Live. After one of them makes it to Weekend Live, this close group of 40-something friends must find out if their dream of making it big will ever come to reality.

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Although the film revolves around the lives of improv comedians, Don’t Think Twice is more of a drama than a comedy. That’s not to say that the film isn’t funny, but Don’t Think Twice is a fantastically written film that honestly portrays the struggles of reaching your dreams. It’s the type of film will probably speak to you on an emotional level more than you realize. It’s a universal concept that Birbiglia focuses on to a great extent.

Like life, there isn’t a happy ending to this story so it’s expected that not everyone will get the big break. Birbiglia doesn’t waste any time and gets to it quite efficiently. After a while, you realize that the real drama comes from whether or not they can stay friends in the face of wealth and fame. That’s what’s great about Joe Anderson’s intimate cinematography. His shots are up close and personal — making audiences feel like they’re a part of the group. Unfortunately, the film’s unrelenting focus on the failures of life does get a bit exhausting.

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Each character is brought to life by Birbiglia’s exceptional cast. Gillian Jacobs has less experience than many of her co-stars, but she’s quite adept during the improv scenes and anchors the movie in more serious moments. She is unquestionably the heart and soul of the film. Keegan-Michael Key shows he’s just as proficient in drama as he is with comedy. Considering Keegan-Michael Key is the most recognizable name out of the cast, Jack’s success arc clearly parallels his real-life stardom. It’s a very natural performance that’s honest and tender.

The rest of the cast also does an impeccable job as well. Much like Key and Jacobs, the rest of the cast members provide authentic and earnest performances. Honestly, Birbiglia brings out the best out of himself and his cast of well-rendered characters.

Overall, Don’t Think Twice is Birbiglia’s love letter to improv. It perfectly captures the bittersweet story of what it’s like to give up your financial security in order to chase your dreams. Its use of familiar comedic faces lends the characters something of an autobiographical feel, even if the film is entirely fictional. Though audiences may walk out of the film with a smile on their face, there’ll also be a desire to go home and turn their dream into reality.

Rating: 4/5 atoms
NR 4 Atoms - B

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