By Kathryn Whitney Boole

“Don’t Think Twice” is a story about the daily triumphs and disappointments of a small comedy troupe in New York City. It’s important that you don’t go into this film thinking you will be delivered from mundane reality into a lighthearted comedy. The movie was not what I expected, and in many respects in a good way. The laughs in this film are born of tragedy. It’s a tragi-comic look at our definitions of success.

The cast is excellent. However it’s ironic that the actors playing the struggling members of the troupe have actually in real life made their “big break” into regular appearances on major television and film productions. Four of them were actually once members of struggling improv groups.

Writer/director Mike Birbiglia gets us to ask ourselves some serious questions in the subplot that exists beneath his seemingly upbeat story about the daily lives of a band of comedians devoted to putting on free improv shows. Most of them seem very comfortable and secure with that existence. One wins his dream gig and it’s important that he is not necessarily more talented than the others – he simply has a different drive, different goals. Gillian Jacobs (“Britta” from Community) is wonderful as the reluctant leader of the team, who encourages the audience at the beginning of each show to generate material on which the players can build an improvisation by asking, “Has anyone here had a particularly hard day?”

In fact, the members of the troupe, who appear humble and self-effacing, show huge courage in putting themselves on the line night after night, on stage in front of an audience. Using only their ability to think on their feet and to feed off the audience and each other, they create original works of entertaining narrative art. See this film when you’re having an upswing in your fortunes, to avoid facing a reality check on the validity of your dreams. “Don’t Think Twice” definitely had me thinking twice, going through my own soul searching, as I left the theatre.

Rated R. 92 minutes.

Kathryn Whitney Boole has spent most of her life in the entertainment industry, which is the backdrop for remarkable adventures with extraordinary people. She is a Talent Manager with Studio Talent Group in Santa Monica. Reach her at kboole@gmail.com. For previously published reviews, see https://kwboole.wordpress.com.