Starring: Keegan-Michael Key, Gillian Jacobs, Mike Birbiglia
Director: Mike Birbiglia
Running Time: 92 mins
Don’t Think Twice is an American film about an improv comedy troop who struggle to stay together after one of their number gets the TV job they’ve all wanted forever.
At its best, this film is an impressively heartfelt and honest portrayal of friendship and the limits of support for one another. As a comedy however, it’s not as funny as it thinks it is, and though it isn’t there to really make you laugh out loud, it does feel a little drab at times, despite the engrossing drama.
If there’s one thing that really works about Don’t Think Twice, it’s the group dynamic. With a wonderful ensemble cast who all put in excellent performances, the film really manages to capture that sense of friendship and collective ambition in this improv comedy troop.
And of course, that makes a huge difference when it comes to the friends encountering tensions in their group. The fall from the highs of their tightly-knit band to the lows of uncomfortable but entirely natural jealousy and confrontation really hurts to see, but that’s exactly what the film aims to achieve.
Touching brilliantly on a very real yet difficult emotion that sees good friends turn against one another when one of their number finds success, Don’t Think Twice’s strongest suit really lies in its ability to delve deep into the more uncomfortable but honest realities of friendship, challenging typically supportive bonds as it portrays just the opposite.
In that, this film really does work well as a heartfelt, honest and often effectively uncomfortable drama, but as a comedy, it’s far less impressive.
The drama is the main focus of Don’t Think Twice, so that’s why the less impressive humour isn’t as problematic, but particularly given that the film tells the story of an improv comedy group, I would have expected slightly sharper humour.
The group’s onstage performances are far from hilarious – though the emotional context of each scene remains the central focus – and the film’s attempts at more regular comedy through the rest of the story really don’t do much more. As a result, there aren’t many laughs in Don’t Think Twice, so it’s not the film to watch if you’re looking for a good chuckle.
Saying that, Don’t Think Twice is generally a fine film, and it does enough with strong dramatic and emotional depth to make its less-than-stellar humour not too bothersome. As a comedy, it’s underwhelming, but as a film about some of the more difficult realities of friendship, it works rather well, and that’s why I’m giving it 6.7 overall.