Don’t Think Twice – BFI LFF – Review

Mike Birbiglia may be a more unfamiliar name to British audiences, but is a renowned comic and filmmaker in his native country of the USA. Don’t Think Twice is his follow up to his 2012 debut film Sleep Walk With Me, a biographical account about his aspiring comedy career and the inevitable ill fated journey of his relationship. Like his debut, the story world revolves around aspiring comedians and best friends who form the improv group, The Commune.

All on the wrong side of their thirties, the troupe’s venue faces closure, yet its when one of their members is plucked from them and chosen for a network comedy show, that one another’s ego’s start to fight amongst each other that threatens to tear their collective bond apart.

Although the source material again maybe be close to Birbiglia, he really knows how to depict the comedy industry, show its warts  particularly the competitive and desperation of those wanting to make it big, in particular with his own character whose ego appears the most bloated of all, yet finds the room to make him endearing. Yet at the same time demonstrates the reward for those who choose to endure it. He manages to navigate each character to have their own story whilst making everything tangible to the group, managing to make it hilarious throughout and tender when it needs to be. There’s not a note off key or weak scene in the film. Performances are strong from everyone particularly from Birbiglia and Chris Gethard who often steals the scene. The script is dripping with wit, with internal and external conflicts and a few surprises mixed in. It’s simplicity at it’s best and serves as a an example of the type of film that can be made anywhere. Somewhat sitting between the Judd Appatow and Duplass Brothers camps of comedy, on this evidence Birbiglia should soon become his own force.

★★★★

Chris Aitken

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