I almost gave up on this film… it was touch and go for the first half hour. But there was still just enough humanity, though not a lot of humor, to keep me intrigued. Ultimately, it pulls together as a tale of friends weathering their differing levels of success as they figure out their paths in life. But more than anything else, this is a story about art and comedy. Perhaps, more precisely, improv and comedians.
Written, directed, and acting in this bit of indie cinema, Mike Birbiglia (Orange is the New Black) still manages to keep everyone balanced, despite some strong individual talents. That is impressive with likes of Keegan-Michael Key (Storks), Gillian Jacobs (Community), Kate Micucci (Garfunkle & Oats), Tami Sagher (Inside Amy Schumer), and Chris Getherd (Broad City), not to mention some guest spots for well-known faces. Part of the point is that no one is really that much more talented than anyone else, but it is a combinations of taste and vagaries that make for success.
I honestly can’t recommend this film strongly. If you have no background in theatre or don’t care about the actors, I’m not sure it has any real resonance; the issues are just so specific to insiders. It may provide a window for those on the outside of the performing arts, but it feels more like a late-night talk with fellow actors than a deep conversation with friends who have no idea what drives performers. But I’m on the inside, in this case, so it is difficult to tell. So, enter into this world at your own risk, but if you do, just say “yes, and…”