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Don’t Think Twice

August 5, 2016
Don't Think Twice

“Your twenties are all about hope,” Bill (Chris Gethard) says about halfway through Don’t Think Twice. “And then your thirties are all about how dumb it was to hope.”

I certainly know what it means to have expectations ratcheted down, sometimes gradually, sometimes abruptly. I think most people get to a point where they have to come to terms — more or less willingly — with the fact that the grand visions they’d had for their lives aren’t going to work out. For Bill and most of the others in his small improv troupe, that vision was getting picked up by SNL-analogue “Weekend Live”.

Miles (writer/director Mike Birbiglia) actually got to an audition once, but it didn’t work out. He teaches improv now, sleeping with his students and hoping to get another shot even as he defensively disparages the show. The rest of the group are a bit younger, and still hustling on the side while they try to make it. Allison (Kate Micucci) has a graphic novel that may or may not go anywhere, and Lindsay (Tami Sagher) comes from money so she can take her time.

But it’s Jack and Samantha (Keegan-Michael Key and Gillian Jacobs) who stand out. They get the call for auditions, and immediately face a choice that seemed less difficult in the abstract: to be the small fish in the big pond, or a big fish in a small pond? And if you do make it, can you even stay friends with the people who you knew coming up? The rest of us who have learned to settle for the merely achievable can’t help but envy the lucky few who never had to give up hope.

Birbiglia’s script does well by straddling this divide. It allows for angst on both sides. The newly-successful need to protect their tenuous positions, which naturally leads to conflict and recrimination. But the harder trick — believe me — is for those who fall short to come to an honest peace with other people’s good fortune.

Worth It: yes.
Bechdel-Wallace Test: Fail.

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