The breakout stars of our favorite late night comedy sketch shows are treated like rock stars from the youth culture who adore their impressions and zany characters. They may be all smiles when they perform every weekend to millions of viewers, but you don’t see the struggles with sadness and failure our players had to make trying to make the big stage. Don’t Think Twice follows an improv troupe in New York that has served as a breeding ground for talent looking to get casted in a network variety show.
The cast of improvers in the film called ‘The Commune’ represent underground comedy shows similar to ‘The Groundlings’ or ‘Second City’ and the show they all strive to be on is ‘Weekend Live’ which a doppelgänger for SNL. The gang is a tight-knit group selling cheap tickets to standing room only crowds until cracks become visible in the foundation. When one of their performers Jack (Keegan Michael-Key) lands an audition on the show they all strive to be on, jealously and feelings of failure haunt the group leading to reality setting concerning the future for many of the members.
For a movie about comedy, Don’t Think Twice is more dramatic than you would expect. At times the film is awkward cinema as you hear the cast including Gillian Jacobs, Kate Micucci and Mike Birbiglia mock the success of others and tell delusional stories of how they’re too good for the show that has been their dream to appear on all their lives. Keegan Michael-Key gives an earnest performance as the star of the group who gets a shot at fame. Having worked in sketch comedy most of his career, Michael-Key easily slips into the role of Jack and shows his serious side as a man trying to hold onto the past as his star begins to rise. All the comedic actors involved deliver sincere performances that will have you pitying the characters for a variety of reason during Don’t Think Twice.
Your feelings towards the comedy style known as “Improv” will be a big factor when it comes to how certain audience members will react to Don’t Think Twice. If you’re a fan of Improv or a past participant int the improvisational art, odds are you will love this film being more familiar with the culture and believe me when I say it’s a culture. If you’re one to roll your eyes at improv, there could be some moments that annoy you, but this movie really isn’t about the laughs. Don’t Think Twice is a serious examination of the life of Improv performers and the grim reality that you can chase a dream, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to catch it.