It’s
been a pretty crowded summer at the movies this year, full of sequels
and blockbusters, many of which landed with a thud both critically and
in terms of the box office. Don’t Think Twice, the second feature from
comedian-turned-writer/director Mike Birbiglia, is one of the best
movies of the year. It follows a trend that he began with the amazing
‘Sleepwalk With Me’, in its unflinchingly emotional and honest-to-life
characters dealing with incredibly relatable situations. It also happens
to be one of the funniest movies of the year, really shining a light in
the rarely seen world of improv comedy. It might not be an incredibly
profound movie, but it’s one of the most personal and human ones I’ve
seen since last years ‘The End of the Tour’, and one of the best of this
year so far.

The
basic set up is this: there’s a group of 6 friends who put on an improv
show every week. We see them go through their routines before the show
and have fun creating skits out of thin air, but what happens when one
of them starts to see success? There’s a SNL-type show in the universe
of the movie, which like the real SNL, pulls talent from local comedy
and improv troupes. When they show interest in Jack (Keegan-Michael Key,
amazing in this), the rest of the group has to come to terms with his
success in relation to their group dynamic and friendships. I don’t
think that spoils anything, because the movie has plenty of surprises up
its sleeves. One of the final scenes with Jack and his girlfriend
Samantha (Gillian Jacobs, also killing it) is up there in the best
scenes of the year for me (you’ll know it when you see it).

I
hinted at it above, but the performances really make this movie
something special. Every character feels completely real; I’m sure due
to great writing and the acting. In particular, Keegan-Michael Key has
so much more depth than he’s gotten to show before, and I think he has
the chops to be a truly great dramatic actor. The exact same could be
said for Gillian Jacobs. Overall, the ensemble is one of the best in any
movie this year. Birbiglia knows how to make characters bounce off one
another in honest (if sometimes cringe-worthingly so) ways. It made me
wonder how I would react if one of my closest friends saw massive
success doing essentially the same thing I’d been trying at for years.
It doesn’t have life-and-death stakes like so many movies today feel the
need to include, but it doesn’t need them. I cared more about what
would happen with these characters’ friendships than if the suicide
squad was going to save the world.

This
is going to be a short one (because I’m writing this at work Hehe) but I
wanted to toss some love this movies way. If you’re a fan of comedy in
any shape or form, there will be something for you to enjoy with Don’t
Think Twice. It just so happens that it’s also one of the best dramas of
the year as well. I’d be pretty surprised if this movie escapes my top 8
at the end of the year, but we’ll see how the chips fall. Pretty soon
I’ll be checking out every dads dream-movie ‘Sully’ and writing some
thoughts on it, and Maybe ‘Snowden’ if I can put up with Oliver Stones
heavy handed political messaging. As always, thanks for reading and stay
tuned for more reviews!

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