Yes, It Kind of Is
It’s Kind of a Funny Story is the story of Craig. Craig has some-what normal teenage problems: he’s in love with his best friend’s girlfriend, is a fish out of water at school, gets annoyed by his not-always-there parents, and has decided he’s suicidal. How he comes to this conclusion is odder than most. Craig, for a while, has been having dreams about riding his bike to the Brooklyn Bridge and jumping off.
Craig decides that this isn’t normal and checks himself into a hospital mental ward. The doctor tries to persuade him that he may not need help, but Craig insists. Then, he gets cold feet, agreeing with the doctor that he probably only needs an anti-depressant, but by then it’s all said and done. Craig now has to spend the required 5 days in the adult psychiatric ward. He ends up getting more than he bargained for, learning a little bit about himself in the process.
This 2010 film features many recognizable actors and actresses in great roles: Emma Roberts plays a suicidal teen; Zach Galifianakis is a man with anger and chronic depression, and Lauren Graham plays Craig’s mother. There are also plenty of lesser known actors that almost outshine the better recognized ones: Jim Gaffigan (a comedian) as Craig’s father, Zoë Kravitz as Craig’s secret love, and Viola Davis as Dr. Eden (one of the nurses in the ward).
I give the most brownie points for Zach Galifianakis and honestly wonder why he wasn’t nominated for this role. It’s a serious role for the Hangover funny-man, so be mindful. Galifianakis plays a man with anger management issues and chronic depression, as well as being the father of a 6 year old girl. He’s light-hearted and quirky for most of the picture, but you can see the glimpses of the toll it’s taken on his family life and his personality. The episodes that he has are striking and heart-wrenching and terrifying. His character’s madness is understates throughout the film, so when he has the episodes, it makes you want to reach out and hug him, but also run away too. I would honestly consider watching the flick, just to watch Zach Galifianakis.
Let’s be perfectly clear about something: this movie is not laugh-out-loud funny, but it has its little moments. The movie is realistically funny, like a conversation with your best friends. There are also scenes where it puts you on the verge of tears, but not for the normal reasons people cry in movies (deaths, sickness, romances gone awry). The instances where you want to sob your heart out are like that because they are so realistic, if not a bit over-played at points.
The actors are amazing, the writers are phenomenal, and the whole aspect of self-discovery is just under-played enough where you think “yea, I’ve been there”. In a movie overflowing with high-points, it’s hard to find anything wrong with it. However, there among the better scenes, there are a couple of ‘whatever’ ones too. These scenes usually start out seeming like a plot point, but end up leaving you feeling kind of robbed and wondering if it’s going to make any sense later. Spoiler alert: they don’t; for the most part. Some of them, after thinking about it for a long time, made me realize that it was just to express the oddity of life, specifically teenage life.
So, if you want a movie that is almost watching real life, but is funny and sad at the same time, It’s Kind of a Funny Story is the right choice. It’s a movie that you feel good going into, and coming out of because the writers weren’t busy ramming a life-lesson down your throat throughout the whole film. The writers were busy making the story as close to an actual experience as they could get. They succeeded with flying colours, which is why I’m rating this funny story 4 stars out of 5. It was a great movie, but (like life itself) had a few bumps along the ride.
It’s Kind of a Funny Story is available on DVD from Focus Features. It’s rated PG-13.
Watch the trailer:
More information can be found here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0804497/