Don’t Think Twice Review: Harsh Truths About Trying to Make It

Films get made about artists all the time, but rarely the aspiring artists who eventually get to an age where they have to pack up and try something new. Don’t Think Twice is a hard look at what both sides of the coin do to your spirit. It doesn’t break any filmmaking molds or feature any outstanding performances, but it’s strong story and focus on people who’s stories are rarely told make this a fresh summer indie absolutely worth seeing.

We follow an improv group in New York City as they do their best with their dignity intact, worrying about each other over their careers. That is, except for Jack (Keegan-Michael Key), who puts his spot on impressions out there whenever the producers of the film’s version of SNL, Weekend Live, are known to be in the audience. It’s a harsh truth that Jack eventually does get an audition with them for going against his group and commanding the stage. But his girlfriend, Samantha (Gillian Jacobs), gets an audition as well, showing that there’s still a way to get in without pissing off your friends.

What follows is the unfortunate fallout of the improv group as one of their members finally gets onto the coveted Weekend Live. The others do their best to get their scripts on the fictional version of Lorne Michaels’ desk once they have the connection. But comedy and show business in general is a complicated industry.

For most of the film, the plot transpires as we expect it to, occasionally giving us some riotous improv to laugh at between bouts of existential crises. But the third act does some wonderful work in terms of where these bubbly, too-optimistic-for-their-own-good people wind up. Choices are made and life events happen that change the game for all of them, just as they do in our own nonfiction. The point of the film ends up being that making it doesn’t guarantee happiness and vice versa. Nothing ends up being what you expect it to be but you’ll persevere anyway if you allow yourself to. It’s a powerful, relatively unheard of message to deliver to aspiring artists or anyone with goals and ambitions. Don’t Think Twice may be unremarkable otherwise, but its magnified take on how we pursue our dreams will not be easily forgotten. Grade: B+

By Matt Dougherty

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