Samantha, Jack, Allison, Bill and Lindsay invent comedy without a script and without a net. They’re ingenious, they’re fast, and they build on each others’ ideas like best friends – which they also are. Night after night they kill onstage and wait for their big break. Day after day they work menial jobs to support themselves. Then they get news that their theater is shutting down and scouts from a hit TV show come to a performance looking for talent. Only two cast members get the nod, upsetting the dynamic of the group and leaving its future in doubt. Relationships begin to crack as six best friends face the truth that not all of them will make it and, for some, it may be time to give up on the dream and move on. Funny, insightful and honest, DON’T THINK TWICE looks at a common experience that’s an uncommon subject for a film: failure. As he did in his acclaimed debut about a stand-up comedian, SLEEPWALK WITH ME, writer/director/actor Mike Birbiglia captures universal human experiences that happen in the lives of professionally funny people. With a top-flight ensemble of comic actors including Keegan-Michael Key, Gillian Jacobs, Kate Micucci, Chris Gethard, Tami Sagher and Birbiglia, DON’T THINK TWICE tells a nuanced story of friendship, aspiration and the pain and promise of change.
Mike Birbiglia is one of my favorite stand-up comedians. His time on 'This American Life' was great, and his film 'Sleepwalk With Me' is incredibly charming, funny, and full of laughs and a few tears. Birbiglia has seen some big spotlight as supporting characters as of late, including 'Trainwreck', 'Orange is the New Black', and 'The Fault in Our Stars'. He's excellent in every role, no matter how small. Here with 'Don't Think Twice', Birbiglia wears four hats in the production. He is the director, producer, writer, and star of the film, which follows the lives of a few friends who have formed a comedy improv troupe.
Not only is the film extremely funny, but it has a deep and important message and will tug the heart strings without hitting you over the head. This is by far one of my most favorite films of recent memory. Miles (Birbiglia) heads up and comedy improv troupe called The Commune in New York City, which is a lot like Second City in Chicago. Weekend Live, which is the fictional version of SNL comes by and seeks out new talent. The troupe consists of Jack (Keegan-Michael Key), a stage ham who loves to be front and center and his girlfriend Sam (Gillian Jacobs), who is the emcee of the group, Allison (Kate MiCucci), who illustrates and writes comics, Lindsay (Tami Sagher), who is talented, but lives off her parents still, and of course Bill (Chris Gethard), who loves comedy, but hasn't landed any successful bookings.
These friends get together after their day jobs to perform comedy in the hopes that Weekend Live will notice them. One night, they hear that some talent scouts will be at their show and the troupe puts on a great performance. Jack and Sam get called in for an audition with Jack receiving an audition and the job. This causes riffs and conflict within their group, as some of the friends feel like they are older and have been doing this longer, and therefor deserve the shot, while others think Jack is "too good" for his old friends now that he is popular and on national television.
With funny moments sprinkled in, Birbiglia's script goes to the sometimes hardened truth of what it's like being a performer and choosing a career in the arts, which isn't always glitz and glamour. Some of the themes explore age and the ability to know when to quit something that isn't working out, as well as how family members see you. It was a fascinating and close-to-home glimpse of what some people in the arts and entertainment world go through and sacrifice in order to perform their artistic abilities.
Every character is relatable and has a great quality in that you would want to be friends with them for the long haul, despite their flaws. Their chemistry and relationships on screen is natural and progressive, and makes you feel all the emotions throughout the film. 'Don't Think Twice' is one of those films you won't easily forget and will be better for have watched it.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
'Don't Think Twice' comes with a 50GB Blu-ray Disc and a DVD copy from Universal that are Region A Locked. There is an insert for the digital download code here too. The discs are housed in a hard, blue plastic case with a cardboard sleeve.
'Don't Think Twice' comes with a great 1080p HD transfer presented in 2.40:1 aspect ratio. The image looks excellent and is full of crisp, clear, vivid detail throughout. Closeups reveal wrinkles, beads of sweat, makeup blemishes, facial lines, freckles, and individual hairs very nicely in the bright stage spotlights as well as at night time in the Big City. The stage props and the big wooden bear backstage looks incredible with every imperfection and worn out look on every prop. Wide shots of the city look equally great and never go soft, showcasing the beautiful lit-up city.
Colors are realistic and well-balanced at all times with luscious browns, yellows, and greens throughout. Bright primary colors pop out in the costumes that the actors wear. There is a warm look to the image, particularly in the interiors that give the image a homey feel. Black levels are consistently deep and inky and the skin tones are always natural. There were no major issues with any banding, aliasing, or video noise, leaving this video presentation with great marks.
This release comes with a great lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix. Don't expect explosions, gun fire, or robots flying around Earth here. This is a dialogue driven film where most of the sound comes from the front speakers. Ambient noises of the big city life, cars passing by, and people walking around sound excellent. The full immersion of the surrounds come when the actors are on stage and the audience is laughing or yelling out suggestions, which puts you in the center of the improv club.
The score always adds to the tone of the comedy and drama of the film without drowning out any other sound aspect. There isn't a ton of low end sound here, but the bass kicks in when the Weekend Live music act comes on, which sounds good. The dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to follow, and free of any pops, cracks, hiss, and shrills.
Improv: Deleted Scenes (HD, 3 Mins.) - This basically a few moments where the commune is on stage doing alternate comedy bits.
The Creative Team (HD, 5 Mins.) - A standard EPK piece with cast and crew interviews where everyone discusses the film and working with Mike Birbiglia. There are some behind the scenes footage here too.
'Don't Think Twice': The Art of Improv (HD, 3 Mins.) - Another standard EPK piece, much like the one above, but this time the focus is on performing improv.
The Commune (HD, 7 Mins.) - Yet again, this is another EPK reel with cast and crew interviews that focus on each character from the film.
'Don't Think Twice' is one of the best films of the year. There is so much heart and soul in this film as well as tons of laughs, that it is highly re-watchable. Mike Birbiglia definitely touches upon and tackles all of the emotions of people who have ever sacrificed anything to be creative, and this is a joy to watch. The video and audio presentations are both great, but the extras are a bit short and redundant. Still, this is one release that comes highly recommended!