By Justin Cudahy, Contributor
[The Film Arcade; 2016]
Improv is a form of theatre that does not get the attention it deserves. So when I found out that comedian Mike Birbiglia was going to be directing Don’t Think Twice, a movie centered around the subject, I was already on board.
Don’t Think Twice is centered around The Communes, a six-person underground improv troupe who perform every week in a small theatre in NYC. While it does appear that each member has earned themselves a certain level of success in the local comedy scene, it is clear that making a living from doing improv would be next to impossible. After one of the members is offered a role on Weekend Live (a shameless spoof of Saturday Night Live) and garners fame, the remaining five members slowly begin to realize that not everyone is going to succeed after all.
The movie is accompanied by a very strong cast of relatively underrated actors and actresses. While the intention was to make it an ensemble cast, it is clear that Keegan-Michael Key is the main focus for a large part of the movie, and for a strong reason. He definitely puts on the best performance throughout, also delivering some of the movie’s best lines and jokes. It’s too bad they didn’t go more in depth with some of the other members of the troupe, specifically Kate Micucci who also shines throughout, but does not get nearly as much screen time as the other guys. Birbiglia really only scratched the surface on some of these characters, and could have provided us with much more background on who some of these people actually are.
Don’t Think Twice is not a “laugh out loud” kind of movie. Sure, you’re guaranteed a few chuckles, especially during the scenes where they perform their routine show (which were also improvised during filming), but for the most part it just doesn’t do it. While Birbiglia does fall short in creating what could have been a very funny movie, as well as missing opportunities to develop some of the other characters, his brutally honest portrayal of what it’s like to follow your dreams is commendable.
Ask any college student what their biggest fear is, and the majority of responses you will hear will be about finding a job, being financially stable or anything revolved around the concept of success. This movie plays into those fears, not to scare you, but to give a realistic look as to what it’s like to grow up. One of the best lines in the movie comes from one of the members, Bill, played by Chris Gethard: “Your 20’s are all about hope, and then your 30’s are all about realizing how dumb it was to hope.”
Don’t Think Twice is an honest movie, and that’s what so great about it. It’s a motivational film that won’t get you to stop thinking about what your future holds for you. If you get the chance, definitely see this movie.