It’s Kind of a Funny Story (2010)
Directed by Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck
At least the title doesn’t exaggerate. “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” is just kind of funny, but it doesn’t rely on comedy for success. When Craig (Keir Gilchrist), a depressed teen, admits himself into an adult psychiatric hospital, he doesn’t know what he’s getting into. Craig spends the next 5 days (the required minimum) with patients like Bobby (Zach Galifianakis) and Noelle (Emma Roberts) as he discovers that he has nothing to be depressed about at all.
Who the hell is Keir Gilchrist? Aside from his role in “United States of Tara,” Gilchrist isn’t a common face in today’s world. His dorky narration and quirky role make him a unique commodity, but he didn’t win me over with any extraordinary acting prowess. On the other hand, this has got to be one of Zach Galifianakis’ most personal, humanized, humble role yet. He’s funny, don’t get me wrong, but not at the expense of himself or others. And Emma Roberts can act when she wants to (don’t blame her for the dreadful lines she had to speak).
At times, the script was downright terrible. Dealing with depression and suicide, some movies tend to come off as tacky. It takes a remarkable script with remarkable actors to talk about those topics and make it seem real. “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” seems to wrap these topics in political correctness, which allows the topics to be inched around by the characters. Some of the lines seemed forced and wooden. Profundities are profounded upon, however. Life and love get serious treatment, but the actions speak louder than words. “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” can also be undeniably heartwarming and uplifting. It’s hard not to smile when you see the stars rocking out to Queen’s “Under Pressure,” complete with sequined outfits and wild hair.
Focus Features (“Beginners,” “The Debt”) claims to make “the best pictures” and it doesn’t do a bad job. For the past 10 years, Focus has put out gutsy, cerebral films like “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” and “Atonement” that will warm your heart and make you think. “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” is no different.