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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Friday, July 07, 2017

Movie Review - Don't Think Twice

Don't Think Twice (2016)
Starring Mike Birbiglia, Gillian Jacobs, Keegan-Michael Key, Kate Micucci, Tami Sagher, and Chris Gethard
Directed by Mike Birbiglia
***This film is currently streaming on Netflix***

There's a naturalness to the two films I've seen directed, written, and co-starring stand-up comedian Mike Birbiglia.  In Don't Think Twice, much like his directing debut Sleepwalk with Me, Birbiglia has a way of writing and acting that feels lived-in, believable, and pleasant.  That last descriptor is admittedly an odd one, but Birbiglia realizes that there is something to be said for "normal," pleasant people.  We laugh, we cry, we hang out with friends, we don't do anything crazy...but we live a good life.  In just two films, Birbiglia has tapped into that for me and it's something I eagerly look forward to seeing again from him.

Birbiglia is Miles, an improv comedian and part of the New York-based improv sextet The Commune.  The troupe is in a bit of trouble with their tiny theater being put on the real estate market. Still, they hope to stay together, but things start to fall apart when one of their members lands a job on a popular sketch comedy show a la Saturday Night Live.  The group now finds themselves faced with the notion that now as thirtysomethings they may finally have to hunker down, change their life plans, and come to the realization that a career in comedy may not be in all of their futures.

Humorous and heartfelt, Don't Think Twice succeeds in large part thanks to the comedic sextet at its center.  Along with Birbiglia, Gillian Jacobs, Keegan-Michael Key, Kate Micucci, Tami Sagher, and Chris Gethard create an atmosphere that feels improvisational, yet narratively flowing.  While laughs are front-and-center, a gentle earnestness is also present, creating believable drama in everyday situations from the sickness of a parent to the ups and downs of a romantic relationship.  Birbiglia doesn't aim for big comedic or dramatic moments, but rather allows quiet, intimate scenes to tell us all we need to know about his characters.

This is one of those little-known gems that I hope to come across whilst reviewing movies every year.  I encourage you to give this one a go -- I don't think you'll regret it.  Hopefully, Mike Birbiglia won't wait four years before crafting another gem of a comedic film.

The RyMickey Rating:  B+

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