Don’t Think Twice is about a group of friends who form an improv troupe known as “The Commune” and how their relationship changes when one of them joins the cast of “Weekend Live” (clearly supposed to be Saturday Night Live). The plot is both more simple and complex, however because of the indie structure, it was somewhat hard to pin down in a sound bite.
Mike Birbiglia’s second movie (his first being Sleepwalk With Me) successfully managed to live up to the first in its real emotion and directing style. Mike Birbiglia plays Miles who gets very jealous when Jack (Keegan-Michael Kay) leaves to join Weekend Live because he began as Jack’s teacher. One of the most effective elements of the movie was that all the characters felt truly human. While you were mad at Jack for showing off and abandoning his original group, you couldn’t blame him for wanting to be successful. At the same time, you couldn’t blame Miles for being jealous and feeling stuck in the situation he was in.
The directing was very well done, especially in the improv scenes. As the audience felt like they were moving in and out of the minds of the characters. Mike Birbiglia mentioned in an interview that many of the improv scenes were actually improvised on the spot, and the rotating cameras around the stage made the audience feel like another improviser on stage, trying to find an entry into the sketch.
In the same interview, Mike Birbiglia mentioned that he had a quote on the wall while filming the movie saying “art is socialism, but life is capitalism.” This is very applicable to this movie in that on stage, they are all meant to be equal however the moment they leave the stage they all lead very different lives. It is especially interesting when Jack comes back to the improv troupe after he had become somewhat known, and all anyone wants to see are his Weekend Live characters. Jack breaks one of the essential rules of improv, that it is about the group, and not about individual performance.
The most fascinating character to me was Samantha, who also got offered an audition for Weekend Live, however did not go because she decided that she didn’t want to climb the ladder and was happy where she was. Jack, her boyfriend, wanted nothing more than to both have them on the show, so Samantha told him she was late for the interview, rather than telling him she avoided it. She eventually tells him that she doesn’t want to “jump to the next lily pad” because she “likes the lily pad [she’s] on.” This self-sabotaging tendency is one that isn’t often portrayed in movies, however felt very real and honest with a great performance from Gillian Jacobs.
Overall, this was a very well-written and directed movie that I believe will be a sleeper hit for years to come.