Film: Don’t Think Twice

The more I think about Don’t Think Twice (2016), the more I love it. Written, directed, and starring Mike Birbiglia, it’s the story of a group of improv comics in New York City who perform intimate little shows in a low-rent theater. When the theater has to close down, it creates a crisis point for the tribe of irreverent, quickly aging dreamers. Their camaraderie turns to awkward, emotionally charged rivalry when a major network television producer attends one of their final shows, giving them all a shot to break out to the next level of their careers. But the success of any one of them may tear the close-knit group apart.

I love improv comedy, and Don’t Think Twice is nothing if not a love letter to this impressive style of spontaneous humor, which is convincingly brought to life by Birbiglia, Gillian Jacobs (who’s never been better), Keegan-Michael Key, Chris Gethard, Kate Micucci, and Tami Sagher. Their passion for what they’re doing, even from the very bottom rung of the show-business ladder, is infectious, and their created-family dynamic is consistently funny and touching. Anyone who’s had longshot creative ambitions will relate to the struggles of the characters, who face the artistic life’s frequent disappointments and frustrations, the struggles of handling success, and the constant questioning of whether to keep chasing the dream. Don’t Think Twice explores all the variations with insight, humor, and heart. Writing about it makes me want to watch it again.

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