Before blowing up as a talented comedian, Mike Birbiglia struggled through unsuccessful gigs and the traditional life of a struggling comedian, something he keeps present in most of his work, especially his directorial efforts. With his previous work, Birbiglia established himself as someone who knew and could adequately represent the landscape a comedian resides in, but with Don’t Think Twice he goes even further, making the concept much more relatable, introducing a terrific group dynamic, and handling themes of failure, jealousy, and ego alongside the comedic beats we’ve come to expect from him.
First off, the comedians Birbiglia was able to assemble to make this movie are great, the chemistry among The Commune is palpable and they all feel like real people who understand and might have even lived through what their character is going through in the film. Everyone in this film is human, each and every member of The Commune have their own personality and singularities when it comes to the way they act. Yet, together they seem to all fit perfectly as each personality adds their own special flavor to the madness of improv. And whilst we know they’ve all got comedy covered, the entire cast also manages drama extremely well, with Gillian Jacobs and Chris Gethard serving as the stand-outs. Jacobs who’ve I’ve been praising for her work in Love does it again, she’s excellent, being both funny, vulnerable, and understandable.
As for the directing, its very similar to that of Sleepwalk with Me and whilst it doesn’t have any special flair to it, it helps establish that these are real people in the real world struggling with their careers. What does shine here is the writing, the way Birbiglia works the story through is just wonderful. Including a real arc for every character, themes of failure, betrayal, jealousy, and acceptance, plus intelligent misdirects that keep you involved in the film, Birbiglia does wonders this story. With that being said Don’t Think Twice feels like its two-hours long despite its 92 minute runtime. Most of this being a result of the constant demonstrations of their improv. performances which are hilarious but do take time to develop and don’t always move the narrative forward.
Don’t Think Twice is a charming film, its full of energy and charisma but also tackles loss of hope in one’s future and the challenges of accepting you’re just not the best sometimes really well. As well as looking into the way feelings are ever evolving in relationships and you’re not always going to be in the same state of mind you were when you met your beloved. Don’t Think Twice is good film, a great indie comedy that accomplishes so much on an emotional scale yet is ultimately beaten down by its troublesome pacing.