Director: Mike Birbiglia
Starring: Mike Birbiglia, Gillian Jacobs, Kate Micucci, Tami Sagher, Keegan-Michael Key
Movies about comedians tend to be one of two things; tragic or just plain weird. ‘Funny People’ extrapolated on the unfunny characteristics of comedians personal flaws, some of which get pretty dark and unsettling. ‘Man on the Moon’ looked into the very awkward and thorny experience that was Mr Andy Kaufman. Neither were really about “comedy”, but rather the depressing existence that is a comedians life.
‘Don’t Think Twice’ is a movie about a group of improv comedians trying to make it in New York City. It seems like everyone’s main goal is to get on some television show called “Weekend Live.” I was keen to watch this because it seemed like it wasn’t going to be as dark as some of the films mentioned previously, and I was pleasantly surprised how heart warming this film handled everything.
This films is pretty much what a comedy drama should look like. It gathers very serious topics in all the characters lives and lists how the problems impact their lives, and their friends lives. Between scenes, the characters develop enough to show how they deal with the problems, regardless if they are healthy decisions or not, and a lot of this revolves around comedy and how they use it as a coping tool with their struggles. Some of the more morose points were where the group would try to help their friend get his mind off of his father who was severely injured by a motorcycle crash, and whilst some of the jokes were in poor taste it was a good insight on how they tried to keep high spirits in very dire circumstances.
This film is best looked at as a decent commentary of how some comedians don’t want to do other things with their career. Like Mitch Hedberg once complained that it seemed like Hollywood wasn’t satisfied with him working himself to death in order to be a standup comedian and insisted he tried other things. This can easily be seen in the characters and their fear of change. Samantha (Gillian Jacobs) repeats this often because she fears she wouldn’t be good enough for the larger jobs like network tv and takes comfort in her stand-up job.
There were only a few flaws with this film. Some of the shots were simple, but I think in some areas they took away from the impact of the scene rather then enhancing the emotion of the moment. A few involved the characters eating at a café, and I don’t know if the natural lighting from outside was interfering from the stage lights, but often there was a massive light on the characters and when it switched places it seemed like there wasn’t any shadow cast by the actors at all or it shifted. The camera was suppose to take the view of a outsider looking in, but lighting doesn’t change that drastically when moving over a few steps. Other than that it was very minor things; the sound track was mellow and a few scenes where the actors probably needed to be a little more intense, they didn’t quite get there.
This warm piece dissolves into a positive note. The collective group develops enough to be a enjoyable bunch and most are either relatable or even endearing. They have their flaw, they jump down each others throats, and still manage to put it all behind them in the end. While dealing with their own personal problems, financial, and career problems it balanced it enough to tell everyone’s story. It does have its flaws, but they are minor and I was able to ignore them amongst all the laughs. If you get a chance to see this please do.
Rhys’ Rating: 7.5 out of 10