Writer-director-actor-storyteller-comedian Mike Birbiglia follows up his celebrated 2012 debut feature, Sleepwalk with Me, with a captivating look at an improv comedy troupe called The Commune. As explained in the film, improv troupes are supposed to stay positive and to keep the focus on the group. Showboating is highly discouraged. So what happens when a member of the group gets called to audition for a better gig, in this case a Saturday Night Live style TV show? In Don't Think Twice it's akin to a Borg leaving the collective to assimilate cultures on a snazzier spaceship.
Make that two Borg. Jack (Keegan-Michael Key) and Sam (Gillian Jacobs) have been invited to audition for “Weekend Live!” and the rest of the troupe are thrilled for them, because they're positive, supportive people. Except that it's really eating them up, especially Miles (Birbiglia), the leader and oldest member of the group.
The rest of the troupe are Allison (Kate Micucci), Lindsay (Tami Sagher), and Bill (Chris Gethard, who opened for Birbiglia the last time he played in Indianapolis.
The possible loss of two members isn't all The Commune have to worry about. They're about to lose the theater that has long been their home. But still they struggle to keep positive, even when the universe appears to be saying, “Get mopey!”
Don't Think Twice has lots of laughs along with the drama, much of it coming from the improv troupe's shows. Birbiglia knows his subject well and what we see feels genuine. As a writer-director, he continues to grow – watch how adroitly he handles six people sharing the screen repeatedly.
Time for a little cheerleading here: If you're a fan of indie films, comedy, improv comedy, and/or well-textured ensemble acting, then go see Don't Think Twice. Mike Birbiglia's latest is rich and rewarding. Now it's our turn to reward him.