Don’t Think Twice

dont-think-twiceDirector: Mike Birbiglia
Run Time: 1h 32m
Stars: 2.5

Don’t Think Twice gives you a glimpse into the unfunny life of a comedian.

A group of friends in NYC share an apartment, a love of comedy and the dream to make it big on the hit show Weekend Live — an SNL caricature. They currently showcase their comedic talent at their improv club, The [not-so-ironically-named] Commune. Members include:

  • Leader/Burnout Miles (Mike Birbiglia)
  • Showboater Jack (Keegan-Michael Key)
  • Jack’s insecure girlfriend Sam (Gillian Jacobs)
  • Rich-kid-living-the-poor-life Lindsay (Tami Sagher)
  • Artsy Allison (Kate Micucci)
  • Quiet sample-spooner Bill (Chris Gethard)

When a scout for Weekend Live comes to one of their shows, Jack steals everyone’s thunder and lands himself an audition with the show’s producers. And thus begins the beginning of the end for The Commune. Tensions flair, relationships are tested, and dreams fall away to a harsher reality. Life’s just funny that way.

I wanted so badly to love this movie. With a cast of funny people and the promise of a unique character exploration I was intrigued from the first trailer I saw. But this 90-minute mess of a narrative was difficult to fully appreciate. I didn’t mind the fact that Don’t Think Twice turned into more of a drama than a comedy, but it felt like you had to wade through a river in snow boots to get anywhere.

The jokes missed more than not. I guess that’s true of most improv clubs because you never know what you’re going to get. So it makes sense, but I do wish that the off-stage comedy had been a little more catching. Like I said, the cast is comprised of some very funny individuals so I was surprised that I didn’t laugh at most of the punch lines.

The appreciation I did walk away with is a look at life and expectations we have as an inherently dream-driven species. We set expectations and goals for ourselves and things hardly work out the way we plan or hope they will. Yet just because we land somewhere different than we intended does not mean we failed. What’s even more interesting is you can be traveling down the same path with five of your closest friends, doing the same things, but your paths can drift apart without you realizing it. The dynamic of the group in Don’t Think Twice was the most captivating when we watched them navigate the messy bits and come out the other side — for better or worse. I think if the film had spent more time polishing these elements it would’ve been better. The characters we meet are incredibly interesting and complex but they weren’t given the opportunity to be fully explored. Character studies can be deeply moving works of art and Don’t Think Twice was right on the brink but never broke through.

Anyone who is a fan of the cast should rent this one when it’s available. Other than that I can’t see a wide range of admirers for Don’t Think Twice.

This one reminded me of a watered-down version of Funny People. If you’re looking for a slightly funnier dramedy, start there. If you’re like me and you enjoy a good exploration of life and the art of a journey, you should definitely see The End of the Tour. You can read my full review of it here.


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