Kyle Cubr of Cine-File Chicago reviews “Don’t Think Twice”

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After 2012’s semi-autobiographical SLEEP WALK WITH ME, Mike Birbiglia finds himself delving into new territory with his exceedingly truthful new film, DON’T THINK TWICE. The film delves into the improv comedy scene as a group of six friends who all perform in the same group go out, night after night, searching for the opportunity to make it into the realms of Saturday Night Live territory. When one of the members finally hits it big, the rest of the group is left scattered, wondering if comedy is truly for them, and, on a larger scale, if they’ve been following the right life path entirely. The film finds comfort in its spontaneity. Many of the “live improv” segments actually were performed live and unscripted. These segments seek to mimic the comedic style they’re aping, and Birbiglia enhances these bits by frequently filming the characters in medium to close-up fashion—signifying the general solitude felt by performers in this field whilst on the stage and under the spotlight. His reverential approach to this particular comedic genre seeks to pay homage to live improv, as well as to essential films of the past such as ANNIE HALL. The film’s biggest draw is the way the interpersonal relationships play out. There is no sugar-coating here. Characters are forced to face their own limitations in often-morose fashion. The juxtaposition of each character fighting their way towards success is what forms the film’s backbone. For fans of improv, DON’T THINK TWICE is an accurate representation of the inner workings and inherent nihilism present in the profession, but as a film, it finds success as a character study, one of added interest locally given Chicago’s robust improv scene.

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