Don't Think Twice

Directed By: Mike Birbiglia

Starring: Keegan-Michael Key, Gillian Jacobs, Mike Birbiglia, Kate Micucci, Chris Gethard, and Tami Sagher

"Has anyone had a particularly hard day?"
-Samantha (Gillian Jacobs)

I can't say that I have upon reflecting on my screening of Mike Birbiglia's improv-themed comedy Don't Think Twice.  With the notable exceptions of Hello, My Name Is Doris and Hunt for the Wilderpeople, we haven't exactly had a glut of pure comedies or dramedies at the indie box office this year.  There haven't been too many movies solely focused on distracting us from the minutiae of our lives with humor and heart.  That's not necessarily a bad thing as there have been quite a few quality films in other genres.  That being said, I'm sure we all could use a little bit of laughter.  The silly world of improv is just the place where we'll find it as Mike Birbiglia seeks to fill this comedy void with his latest feature Don't Think Twice

Weekend Live
is the gold standard of improv comedy, especially for the members of the Commune.  Led by Miles (Birbiglia), this struggling comedy group does a show called Improv for America at a small local venue in the city.  While they're asking loyal patrons whether they've had a particularly hard day, every day is a hard day for this ensemble as they hope someone from Weekend Live drops by to scout talent.  Working menial jobs by day and trying to make their dreams a reality by night, they're not exactly walking an easy path.  With this in mind, there's no one with bigger ambitions than Jack (Keegan-Michael Key), and he plays to win on stage at his friends' expense.  It's his girlfriend Samantha (Gillian Jacobs) who has the natural gift of gab, however.  When those Weekend Live scouts do eventually drop by to see the Commune in action, both Jack and Samantha catch their attention, setting the stage for plenty of conflict within the close-knit group.

Unabashedly tackling the world of shows like Saturday Night Live and Second City, Don't Think Twice sheds some interesting light on the journey to greatness in the world of improv.  His first feature film in the director's chair since his 2012 movie Sleepwalk With Me, Birbiglia puts a spotlight on the hardships that struggling comedians face.  Their plight is very much akin to that of artists on Broadway, many of whom never make their career goals a reality.  Despite the melancholic premise, he continues to deliver the quirky, offbeat dramedy he delivered in Sleepwalk With Me.  Solidly written and well directed, Don't Think Twice delivers the comedic goods and is a nice return to form for Birbiglia.

Birbiglia gathers a heavy-hitting ensemble of comedians to showcase the Commune in Don't Think Twice.  Of course, he headlines it as Jack, the faithful leader of the group.  A supportive figure with no hope of making it big on his own, Birbiglia's comedy is marked with a tinge of envy for his friends and students who are finding success.  For his part as Jack, Keegan-Michael Key is charismatic, cocky, and conflicted.  Simply put, Key is bringing the comedic goods like only he can.  Finally, we have Gillian Jacobs as Samantha.  She's self-loathing and has very little ambition.  She's content with mediocrity, and frankly that's where Jacobs as a comedian thrives.  This is Jacobs inhabiting her typical character and excelling.

Don't Think Twice
is a charming dramedy full of humor and heart.  Wholly entertaining, Mike Birbiglia's latest feature gets a strong 0.06% rating.  Have a few rounds of beer with this one.