Don't Think Twice (2016)

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Critic Consensus: Don't Think Twice offers a bittersweet look at the comedian's life that's as genuinely moving as it is laugh-out-loud funny -- and a brilliant calling card for writer-director Mike Birbiglia.

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When a member of a popular New York City improv troupe gets cast on a hit TV show, the rest of the group - all best friends - start to realize that not everyone is going to make it after all. From the director of Sleepwalk With Me and the creator of This American Life comes Don't Think Twice, a critically acclaimed comedy packed with comic stars Keegan-Michael Key, Gillian Jacobs, Mike Birbiglia, Kate Micucci, Chris Gethard and Tami Sagher that presents a hilarious and honest look at the lives of professional funny people.

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Critic Reviews for Don't Think Twice

All Critics (132) | Top Critics (35)

The film is nicely structured, gently witty, and it boasts an excellent cast

Mar 16, 2017 | Full Review…

A deeply sincere and literate coming-of-age tale.

Dec 29, 2016 | Full Review…

It has more laughs than any big-studio comedy I've seen this year, but it's dead serious about the difficulty of creating something collectively in a world where everyone's chasing the spotlight.

Aug 25, 2016 | Full Review…

The most biting comedy of the summer has nothing to do with talking pets.

Aug 11, 2016 | Full Review…

A surprising, bitingly honest drama entwining strands of blood, sweat and jokes.

Aug 8, 2016 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Don't think twice, just see it.

Aug 5, 2016 | Rating: A- | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Don't Think Twice

½

This film will hit anyone very hard who is in the theatre, improv scene and really anyone who feels like their art is undervalued. Tremendous. Rating: 89

Bradley J
Bradley J

Super Reviewer

This is a film that is an indie film to the core. Fractured friendships and the depth of each character keeps things emotional every step of the way. Keegan shines in a great supporting role who suffers the jealous wrath of his friends. The film moves at a casual pace, but it's the chemistry that elevates this to the five star rating. This film won't be for everyone but it's a pleasure to see great indie cinema and this pushes me into filmmaking. 05/05/2017.

Brendan Nicholls
Brendan Nicholls

Super Reviewer

When it comes to films revolving around the film or television business, most of them choose to focus on one aspect alone, leaving out some of the behind-the-scenes aspects that many studios probably don't want you to know. In the case of Don't Think Twice, it doesn't follow the ways of say La La Land or Super 8. Those examples may not be the greatest, but this is a film that isn't afraid to explicitly show that, no matter how much passion you have for acting, making it big just isn't meant for everyone. Don't Think Twice is a big slap in the face for dreamers who hope to become actors/actresses one day, but in the best way possible. Funny, charming, and eye-opening, this is why I believe Don't Think Twice is worth your time. Following a group of imrov performers as they hold shows on a weekly basis in order to get recognition by a television show called Weekend Live, which is pretty much this film's version of Saturday Night Live, the film quickly becomes a reminder that fame can't be for everyone. As one of the members of their group (Jack, played by Keegan-Michael Key) is chosen as the newest cast member of Weekend Live, his friend whom he acts with every week soon become jealous. The fact that he can't do anything for them from the inside also begins a feud between them, making this more dramatic than anything. Filled with some very clever humour and some great improv scenes, this film is all about selling great characters, which leads me up to my biggest issue. In no way did any of these characters bother me, in fact I quite enjoyed ever time any of them were on-screen together. That being said, when certain characters are featured on their own for an extended period of time, it seems to slightly forget about some of the other players, almost as if they were not as important to the story, which kind of goes against the core story in the first place. Ensembles have always been difficult to grasp. Whether you have a successful balance in films like #TheAvengers or #OceansEleven, there will always be a film like #SuicideSquad that is much more unbalanced. This is the prime example of a film with great characters that aren't explored enough. Having said that, the ones who are make this film really enjoyable. This is a film about people who are great at improv, so as long as there are some satisfying moments that showcase some great improv and there are some great jokes sprinkled throughout the film, I knew I was going to enjoy it, and enjoy it I did. This really is a very solid film and any time it was focussing on the characters of Jack and Samantha, I was very curious to see where they were going to end up, due to the fact that different career paths may be separating them. This is a very, very good film with many solid performances and some terrific messages about show business. In the end, would I recommend this film to a mass audience? Yes I would. It's more for an audience that enjoys a dramatic turn in an otherwise comedic film, but fans of television shows like Saturday Night Live or Friends will probably have a great time watching Don't Think Twice. The irony is that it makes you think twice about your career path, especially if you are into show business. Well-written, well-directed, and well-performed, there really isn't much to dislike about this film, but I wish it had been ten to twenty minutes longer, leaving a bit more room for character development, which is a big problem for me when I watch films. Overall, I had a blast watching this film and I definitely recommend checking it out. It went under the radar after its festival runs, so this may be one of those cult classic comedies.

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

ON STAGE, NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU SQUIRM - My Review of DON'T THINK TWICE (4 Stars) Funny yet painfully honest, Mike Birbiglia's DON'T THINK TWICE, for which he wrote, directed, and co-stars, manages to enter the ephemeral world of improv comedy and make a lasting impression, becoming one of the best films of 2016 in the process. Too often, films about a group of friends turn smug and overly satisfied with themselves. THE BIG CHILL, for example, kept me away from reunions for years for fear I'd have to dance around a kitchen island whilst preparing spa salads. Birbiglia, a veteran standup comic and TRAINWRECK scene stealer, seems to understand this and opens up a can of real on this story about an improv troupe who cope with success and failure in deliciously uncomfortable ways. The group known as the Commune and comprised of six thirtysomethibng comics (Birbiglia, Gillian Jacobs, Keegan-Michael Key, Kate Micucci, Chris Gethard, and Tami Sagher), have tooled around Manhattan for years and face extinction when they learn of their theatre's closing. Ostensibly an all-for-one/one-for-all team, their loyalties get put to the test when one of their own (Key) lands a coveted spot on WEEKEND LIVE, an SNL-type sketch comedy show. It's everyone's reaction to his success that puts their friendships to the test and forces them to own up to their own talent or lack thereof. Personally, I'm not a fan of improv comedy. I much prefer a well-crafted joke to something made up on the spot. Wisely, DON'T THINK TWICE acknowledges this by teaching the audience about its inner workings and by never demanding we laugh at the routines they present. Almost every scene in this wonderful film zags when you expect it to zig. These friends/competitors rarely let each other off the hook, calling out flaws and testing limits. That frisson necessary to create comic moments becomes a double-edged sword which can slay another person when long-suppressed conflicts boil over. Birbiglia has a talent for creating a believable world where friends may be simultaneously supportive and undermining each other, making for some highly awkward dynamics. Birbiglia treats failure and success with equal weight here, giving each character a cold hard look at both. Key's character could have easily been painted as a self-centered villain, yet we come to understand the pressures he faces with his sudden ascent. Likewise, Jacobs' Samantha makes some fairly self-destructive decisions that could come across as flighty but make total sense by the film's end. Throughout the film, she opens every improv session by asking the audience, "Has anyone had a particularly bad day?" It's a lovely framing device and gets a terrific payoff due to her character's surprising arc. Just when you think this is a film about Key or Birbiglia, Jacobs slyly takes over the film as the protagonist and delivers a star making performance. Make no mistake, this film about comedy will make you squirm more frequently than laugh. It digs for hard truths and socks you in the gut. The movie goes there in such scenes like the one where Key tries to impress some WEEKEND LIVE talent and gets interrupted by his gang, or watch everyone's reaction to Ben Stiller's presence for a taste of the excruciating. I've never seen a moment quite like the one where everyone inappropriately makes fun of Gethard's injured father as a way of showing their solidarity. Sagher's Lindsay, a rich girl who can afford therapy and doesn't need a day job like the rest of her brethren, bites back hard when backed into a corner. She delivers the biggest takedown of the film, an unexpected moment in a sea of them. For a film that tries very hard to pull no punches, Birbiglia loses his nerve a little in the final moments, presented as an 8 month flash forward. Without spoiling anything, what happened prior to this scene felt so shattering that I didn't quite buy the transition, especially with Lindsay. I get that he wants to show how friendships can overcome life's speed bumps, but sometimes the cold, hard truth is that they can't. Birbiglia clearly understands that, as evidenced by everything that comes before, but his conclusion could have used a little more bitter with the sweet. Regardless, this charming yet tough film, highly reminiscent of prime Woody Allen without feeling at all like a ripoff, deserves high praise. It's a mostly unblinking look at finding success in one's failures and vice versa and somehow made me appreciate improv. Now that's what I call noteworthy!

Glenn Gaylord
Glenn Gaylord

Super Reviewer

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