• Review: Don't Think Twice (2016)

    From David N. Butterworth@21:1/5 to All on Sat Apr 29 10:04:26 2017
    DON'T THINK TWICE (2016)
    A film review by David N. Butterworth
    Copyright 2017 David N. Butterworth

    *** (out of ****)

    Improvisational comedy has three very simple rules: No. 1, Say yes; No. 2,
    It's all about the group; and No. 3, Don't think. In comic Mike
    Birbiglia's engaging ensemble piece, "Don't Think Twice," rule number two
    is severely put to the test when a member of an improv group is given a
    rare chance at stardom, the opportunity to audition for an SNL-style sketch comedy show. All of a sudden, rule number two is instantly rewritten as
    every man for himself! The likable actors who make up the extemporaneous theatrical troupe are a sextet of familiar faces, mostly from the small
    screen. "Key & Peele"'s Keegan-Michael Key plays Jack, the talented
    funnyman who lands the holy grail of gigs, "Weekend Live," and slowly
    begins to alienate his fellow thesps (one can't help but wonder how Key is handling Jordan Peele's staggering success with the big-screen "Get Out"). Gillian Jacobs (Britta Perry on NBC's "Community") is The Commune's front
    face, Samantha, although Miles (Birbiglia) considers himself the troupe's spiritual leader, having taught several of them "everything they know."
    Also on board are the saucer-eyed Kate Micucci (Raj's odd girlfriend on
    "The Big Bang Theory"), nerdy Chris Gethard (Todd of "Broad City"), and writer-performer Tami Sagher, best known for "MadTV." It's fascinating learning the ins and outs--and ups and downs--of improv work while
    witnessing the familiar story of how fame, often fleeting, can cut to the quick, cultivating bitter jealousies along the way. As Birbiglia's
    real-life wife remarked after one of his live performances, "Everyone is equally talented in this show, and yet this one person is on "Saturday
    Night Live" and this one person is a movie star and this one person lives
    on an air mattress in Queens." "Don't Think Twice" was inspired by that
    astute observation, milking the comic and tragicomic disparities in fine
    and finely-tuned style.

    David N. Butterworth

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