"Friendship Overcomes Jealousy"
DON’T THINK TWICE is a serious comedy about a fictional New York improv troupe pulled apart by the sudden success of one member. DON’T THINK TWICE has a compelling script with good performances and some moral elements, but the worldview otherwise mixed and contains plenty of foul language, some immoral innuendo and marijuana use by one character that, however, is rebuked.
The movie centers on an improv comedy troupe called The Commune. The troupe members are all fairly clever and witty but are getting scared about their lives as they face their mid-thirties. Miles (Mike Birbiglia) is the leader, but he’s 36 and has been guiding them through weekly shows at a 99-seat theatre for 11 years. Meanwhile, he shares an apartment with half the troupe and sleeps in such a tiny loft space that a visiting, former college girlfriend refuses to stay overnight with him.
The other troupe members include Jack (Keegan-Michael Key of Comedy Central’s “Key and Peale”), his girlfriend Samantha (Gillian Jacobs of NBC’s “Community”), Lindsay (Tami Sagher), Bill (Chris Gethard), and Allison (Kate Micucci). They all follow three basic improv tenets: “Say yes”; “It’s all about the group”; and, “Don’t think.”
Jack is the fly in this complicated ointment. He has a long-standing, annoying habit of trying to steal the show whenever talent scouts show up at a Commune show. Despite Miles begging him not to showboat, he bursts into a terrific Obama impression when talent scouts from a “Saturday Night Live” style show come to watch a performance. Both he and Samantha are invited to audition for the big time.
What happens when Jack gets the break and Samantha doesn’t, partly due to some surprising circumstances, winds up having huge ramifications on the entire troupe. Jealousy, envy, rivalries, and the harsh tug of reality that some of the troupe’s members just don’t have star potential all interfere with the troupe’s decade-plus relationships. Can they remain friends in the midst of all this?
At first, DON’T THINK TWICE comes off as perhaps too insular a look at a very specific, relatively tiny slice of showbiz life. However, as the characters develop into people with whom viewers can truly laugh, sympathize and even support, the movie comes to life. In fact, Writer/Director Mike Birbiglia finds ways to make their problems universal. The way that Birbiglia provides a perfect fit for each of the characters’ lives (both inside big-time showbiz and on smaller levels of personal satisfaction) is a small wonder of quality scriptwriting.
The standout duo in the cast are Keegan-Michael Key and Gillian Jacobs as Jack and Samantha, respectively. The characters are well drawn and unique, defined further by spot-on performances by a cast of veteran indie comedy actors. The cast members have graced the real improv stages of Chicago and Los Angeles so long, and have faced the same problems, that the movie successfully manages to portray the backstage world of the improv scene, even for those who could care less about such things. By expanding his vision to an ensemble cast, filmmaker Mike Birbiglia shows that the relative success of his first feature movie, SLEEPWALK WITH ME, was no fluke.
Content wise, DON’T THINK TWICE has a mixed pagan worldview with some moral elements but also with plenty of foul language and some immoral innuendo. The characters are flawed but are generally kind toward other people. In addition, one character gets in the habit of smoking too much marijuana (though her substance abuse is rebuked because it hurts her work). Extreme caution is advised for DON’T THINK TWICE.
(PaPa, Ro, B, LLL, V, SS, N, AA, DD, MM) Strong mixed pagan worldview in a serious comedy about an improv troupe that has some personal conflicts, with some Romantic and some positive moral elements such as kindness and a light pro-life message; at least 33 obscenities and profanities, plus drunk characters get sick; a character dies, and there’s some macabre discussion about it; strong sexual content overall includes implied fornication between three couples, one of them living together, and some verbal references, plus one man decides to be a father to his old girlfriend’s baby from a previous fling because she doesn’t want to get an abortion, and their story has a happy ending too because of their decision; rear nudity, upper male nudity, woman in bra; alcohol use and some drunkenness; no tobacco use and one character regularly uses marijuana, but it clearly affects her work, and other people complain to her about it so she agrees to stop or tone it down; and, heated arguments deriving from strong jealousy, envy and resentment when one character achieves success, and others realize they will never succeed like they want to succeed.
DON’T THINK TWICE is a serious comedy about a fictional New York improv troupe pulled apart by the sudden success of one member. Despite the troupe’s leader telling him not to showboat, he does it anyway and gets an audition when talent scouts from a “Saturday Night Live” style show come to watch a performance. By eventually getting the job, he awakens feelings of resentment, jealousy and envy within the troupe. Can they all remain friends in the midst of this while each of them deals with other issues in their personal lives?
At first, DON’T THINK TWICE comes off as too insular a look at one relatively tiny slice of showbiz life. However, as the characters and story develop, the movie comes to life. The characters are well drawn and unique, with spot-on performances by a cast of veteran comedy actors. DON’T THINK TWICE has a mixed pagan worldview with some moral elements, plenty of foul language and multiple references to promiscuity. Also, one character uses marijuana though she’s rebuked for it. MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution for DON’T THINK TWICE.