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With: Mike Birbiglia, Keegan-Michael Key, Gillian Jacobs, Kate Micucci, Tami Sagher, Chris Gethard, Richard Masur, Sondra James, Richard Kline, Maggie Kemper, Erin Darke, Lena Dunham, Ben Stiller
Written by: Mike Birbiglia
Directed by: Mike Birbiglia
MPAA Rating: R for language and some drug use
Running Time: 92
Date: 08/01/2016

Don't Think Twice (2016)

3 Stars (out of 4)

The Zing of Comedy

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Comedian Mike Birbiglia follows up his debut feature, Sleepwalk with Me (2012), with the slightly more ambitious, and slightly more successful Don't Think Twice. This time Birbiglia is a member of a six-person improv group -- he teaches improv in real life -- and one of the rules established at the outset is that no one should be a showboater. So no one gets to be the star of the movie, either; it's a true ensemble. The New York troupe, which also includes Jack (Keegan-Michael Key), Samantha (Gillian Jacobs), Bill (Chris Gethard), Allison (Kate Micucci), and Lindsay (Tami Sagher), enjoy a small, loyal following in a theater that is about to be closed down. Offstage, their lives are a little less glamorous. When the comics learn that scouts from the big-time TV show "Weekend Live" (a thinly disguised and cleverly replicated "SNL"), the no-showboating rule is broken, and two of the members land auditions. This brings out all kinds of layers of jealousy, betrayal, and guilt, which Birbiglia balances beautifully, with touches of lightness and honesty. No one is ever painted as a bad guy, and everyone has his or her failings. Don't Think Twice -- not a particularly memorable title, unfortunately -- is appealingly rich and cluttered, as well as fascinating and funny.

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