Don’t Think Twice may as well have the tag line “The Movie that Leo Brady will love!” It’s not just a funny comedy, but a movie that knows the subject matter of improv groups so well, it felt like a journey down memory lane. Let me give you a brief background behind why this movie meant so much to me. My mother and father met working in musical theatre, my mom taught improv classes when I was in junior high, and my father played the piano for multiple Second City improv groups that featured names such as Steve Carrell, Chris Farley, and David Koechner. It also just so happens, that my wife was a member of Chicago’s ImprovOlympic and the Cupid Players. So yeah, you could say a movie about improv comedy spoke to me. Besides all of that, Don’t Think Twice happens to be one of the funniest, kindest films of 2016. I saw it at SXSW and I have not forgotten about it since.
Nerve is a social media version of “Truth or Dare”, where you become either a player or a watcher. The watchers propose the dares, while the players engage in, sometimes simple, but often death defying challenges for cash. It’s a concept that fits the time, with people glued to their phones playing Pokemon Go while they walk off cliffs, or endlessly scrolling through social media feeds. Our heroes are high-school senior Vee (Emma Robberts), who lost her brother a few years ago and plays Nerve to face her fears, and another player named Ian (Dave Franco), who is more than he seems. Nerve is big on thrills, short on brains, and fails to pass any daring tests of intellectualism.