SXSW Review: Don’t Think Twice about seeing this film.
Written and directed by comedian Mike Birbiglia, Don’t Think Twice follows a group of friends who start an improv group known as the Commune. As their story unfolds, the audience begins to see the struggle that each member faces while trying to advance their career in the comedy world.
Don’t Think Twice is a sometimes comedic but always honest look at the world of comedy. Born and raised in North Jersey, I have several friends who have a strong passion for comedy and others that perform in comedy clubs and at the UCB Theater in NYC. Just as this story shows, comedians struggle with their art and the harsh reality is that not everyone who dreams of being a successful comedian is going to become one.
In a lot of ways, Don’t Think Twice is like a docudrama. It is a film about comedians, starring comedians, and written/directed by a comedian. The way that improv comedy is portrayed in this film is incredibly realistic. It showcases all the stages of being a comedian from starting out in a small club to trying to advance your career as a comedy writer. It seems that almost every comedian dreams of being a writer for a show like SNL, which is represented in this film as Weekend Live.
While this is essentially a story about an improv group, I did feel that Jacobs and Key got the most screen time. I have always loved Gillian Jacobs as Britta on Community, but I haven’t really seen her do anything film-wise that really blew me away. Luckily after seeing Don’t Think Twice that statement is no longer valid.
Jacobs is great as Samantha because she shows so much range in her performance. We see the personal struggle but also get to see her trying to be a supportive girlfriend to Jack (Keegan-Michael Key). There are so many moments where you can see the struggle in Jacobs’ eyes without her even saying a word. Jacobs and Key’s relationship is interesting because I feel its very honest and realistic. The pair shares the film’s strongest scene, which I don’t want to spoil. All I will say is that it happens during an improv show near the end.
Outside of Jacobs and Key, the rest of the cast is stellar as well. Chris Gethard, Kate Micucci, Mike Birbiglia, and Tami Sagher round out the rest of the Improv group. While I think each character was shown in a different light with different goals, I think everyone really embraced their roles. Each of these actors brings something to their character that is unique. One character struggles with his father being in a car accident while another struggles with how little he has done at 36 years old.
Above everything else, I think the strongest element about Don’t Think Twice is its honesty towards the comedy business. Whether you want to be a standup comedian or a comedy writer, this film showcases an unbiased look at the struggles. From being talented enough to the jealousy that occurs among friends when someone makes it before you do. I think Birbiglia has crafted a film that really showcases all angles of what it is like to work in the comedy world.
All in all, Don’t Think Twice is a well-made film about comedians that is funny yet honest. It is a film that will connect with most who watch it but specifically for those in the industry. I think Don’t Think Twice is really about the entertainment industry as a whole. It shows that it’s not always fair and sometimes people make it and others just continue to fail. Its comedic yet harsh at the same time which is why its such a great film.
MovieManMenzel’s final rating for Don’t Think Twice is an 8 out of 10.