“Don’t Think Twice” (2016)
Directed by Mike Birbiglia
Running Time 92 Minutes, Rated R
3.5 Mitch’s out of 5
The art of sho-cruelty and its business. When things are going just ok or even less than ok with creative type performers, and one of your peers starts doing better than ok, that’s when when the truth comes out.
Mike Birbiglia’s love letter to the art of improv is a comedy slash drama or a drama slash comedy that either way works. Spending so many of my previous years in the improv world I’ve seen so much of this before; the waiting tables while you hurry off shift to get to a gig, the team dynamics of both crushes and feuds, the ego’s that are juggled and tested when one climbs higher on the ladder’s rungs. As I am not on SNL, you can tell which side of the coin my comedy fate fell upon, and that’s why I thought this film, with all the people I love (even Chris Gethard who was killing it at the UCB while I was taking classes there), would hit harder to home for me, but it didn’t. Birbiglia’s directing does a more than fine job balancing the the live and die aspect of team improv as well as the cutthroat selfishness performers can tend to have, but “Don’t Think Twice” was ultimately a mild hit for my heart; laughed with, not at, and appreciated.
Birbiglia also plays Miles, a forty year old improver who leads a well liked group called ‘The Commune’. Miles still holds out for a spot on the coveted “Weekend Live” sketch show but is jolted when that honor goes to the younger Jack (Keegan-Michael Key) who nails the audition and gets the job. Friendships are tested and life keeps on chugging. “Don’t Think Twice” captures the pursuit of your dream and all the bs that’s in between.