Things just aren’t going well for Craig. His successful father expects him to be an academic achiever, his best friend is the perfect guy, and he’s impossibly in love with his buddy’s girlfriend. The overwhelming sense of hopelessness and some suicidal thoughts drive Craig to check himself into a psych ward for what he thinks will be a short stay.
His situation gets worse when he realizes he will have to spend an entire workweek in the adult ward. Despite suffering this fate, Craig befriends some of the very unusual patients and manages to learn a little about himself and maybe even love in the process.
Where so many movies try to artificially inject that sense of independent film coolness into their productions, It’s Kind of a Funny Story manages to do so effortlessly. That’s probably because writer/directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck concentrate on story and characters rather than snappy camera moves and flashy editing.
There is a little of that here but it actually works to support the story. For example, in the tradition of Ferris Bueller, Craig breaks the fourth wall and serves as a narrator speaking to the audience. Boden and Fleck also make creative use of flashback to represent Craig’s thoughts and feelings. Like I said, it works well and seems effortless.
Despite the presence of the red hot Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover) and veterans Viola Davis (Doubt), Lauren Graham, and Jim Gaffigan, this movie features strong roles from a trio of young adults.
Keir Gilchrist (Dead Silence) is completely natural as Craig and he’s joined by the very talented Emma Roberts (Hotel for Dogs), and Zoe Kravitz (No Reservations and yes, she is Lenny’s daughter). This young and talented trio is at the heart of this film and it’s interesting to see the adults (with the exception of Galifianakis) take the back seat.
It’s Kind of a Funny Story is not laugh-out-loud funny. It’s humorous but poignant and serious as well. The story is a bit predictable and nothing here will blow you away, but the characters and solid performances make for a solid night of quality entertainment. Now that you’ve managed to plow through all the Oscar movies, why not try something a little different.
4 out of 5
Rated PG-13 for mature thematic issues, sexual content, drug material and language.
Sadly, Universal has not loaded the DVD or Blu-ray with an exceptional amount of supplements. Included are nine minutes of deleted scenes, a long outtake reel, and two short looks at the production and the film’s New York premiere. A commentary track or extended interviews from the writer/director team or stars Gilchrist and Galifianakis would have great but are sadly missing.
Bonus Features rating
2 out of 5
Tony Robinson is a past host of KATU's Movie Guys film review segment and currently reviews movies exclusively for KATU.com. He lives in Portland with his wife, son and action figure collection. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.