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Don’t Think Twice (2016)

February 6, 2017

Starring: Keegan-Michael Key, Gillian Jacobs, Mike Birbiglia
Director: Mike Birbiglia

Bottom Line: Written, directed, and starring Mike Birbiglia, Don’t Think Twice takes a look at what life is like for a group of mid-level improv comedians in New York City trying to break through to the next level – in this case, a “Saturday Night Live” type show called “Weekend Live” – and what happens when one of them does exactly that.

As a poker player, I could actually relate to a lot of what was happening in this movie. Not everyone is created equally. Some people are just naturally gifted. Others work their butts off to become great at their craft. Some people can’t reach elite status no matter how hard they try and then there’s a type of person that just expects things to go their way despite a total lack of effort.

There’s a lot of this dynamic going on in Don’t Think Twice. Keegan-Michael Key plays Jack Mercer, the most naturally gifted in the improv group, and also the sole member to find himself cast in “Weekend Live.” Naturally, the rest of the group wants to piggyback on his success and Jack quickly discovers how difficult it is for the rookie to start asking for favors. And truly, the only group member he really wants to help out is his girlfriend (Jacobs).

It’s interesting watching this group of people that support one another so enthusiastically at the beginning of the film succumb to jealousy when one of their friends finally makes it. At least that’s the case with Mike Birbiglia’s character Miles, the group leader and Jack Mercer’s first improv teacher. As his former mentor, Miles naturally thinks he’s directly responsible for Jack’s success and can’t really wrap his head around why “Weekend Live” wouldn’t want him too.

Don’t Think Twice was my first time seeing Keegan-Michael Key (of “Key and Peele”) and Gillian Jacobs (of “Community”) act in a feature film and I was mostly pleased with their performances. Everybody gets some funny moments, but Key actually gets to show off some dramatic acting chops, while Jacobs isn’t given much to separate herself from the Britta character we already know and love.

One of the better scenes in the film finds the group watching Jack’s first appearance on “Weekend Live” and lamenting on how bad the show is now and wondering if it was ever good, or it just seemed that way because they were 12… which is pretty much how everyone in their mid-30s feels about “Saturday Night Live” now.

Don’t Think Twice is a satisfying dramedy that will make you laugh and possibly make you cry. I wish there were more improv scenes and that those scenes were more diverse, but alas, they are still pretty good. I appreciated the fact that Don’t Think Twice managed to be funny without relying on much low brow humor. If you’re expecting nonstop laughs, you might be disappointed. Instead, you’re just going to have to settle for a well-rounded film full of heart.

Replay Value: I liked it, but I’m not eager to see it again.
Sequel Potential: I would say zero.
Oscar Potential: No nominations.

Grade: 7/10 (highly enjoyable)

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One comment

  1. […] on with their careers, with Key starring in last year’s very good but largely overlooked film Don’t Think Twice and becoming a very popular voice actor, while Peele wrote last year’s Keanu as the first […]



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