Reviews

It's Kind of a Funny Story

3

Boy, Interrupted…

It's Kind Of A Funny Story review

“What’s wrong with you?” Zach Galifianakis asks the young hero of the third film from the writer/directors of Half Nelson and Sugar. “You should be on Coney Island, birddogging chicks!”

Instead Craig (Keir Gilchrist) is about to be committed to a psychiatric ward for having suicidal thoughts brought on by peer pressure, romantic worries and stressy parents.

The funny thing about Story is that Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden would rather play this scenario for laughs than for drama. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest this isn’t, their adaptation of Ned Vizzini’s novel accentuating the positives that might result from being banged up for a week.

It’s hard to believe the original was quite as pat as it’s rendered here. Yet despite the trite sentimentality, the film isn’t without a woozy, kooky charm.

Gilchrist – combining elements of numerous John Hughes protagonists – is endearingly clueless as the gawky centre around which the action revolves. Galifianakis, meanwhile, gives inmate Bobby unexpected soul and pathos.

OK, anyone with experience of mental health issues will laugh this out of town, not least during one dream sequence that has Craig sing a cover of Queen’s ‘Under Pressure’.

They’ll know it takes more than five days to bring about the sort of lifeaffirming uplift Boden and Fleck dole out as casually as a beaker of meds.
 

Verdict:

Wavering between affecting dramedy and goofy asylum- com, this is an enjoyable but superficial placebo that soft-soaps the realities of psychological disorder.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • TinyBoots

      Jan 26th 2011, 13:25

      Seems to me like the reviewer may have missed several key aspects of the film that do highlight the realities of psychological disorder. Most importantly, Craig's depression is brought about by completely run of the mill problems that most people at that age experience. His problem is that he can't deal with them as well. It's quite clear that while, yes, there is cause to diagnose depression, that this isn't a beyond redemption depression that is evident in Bobby's character. Craig's "road to recovery" is well-paced through the film, shown in his instant regret after he is committed, realisation that his problems aren't so big after all, and then waivers just enough at the end when his plan to be better and live life is tainted as we see him struggling to ride a bike down the street without breaking down. Additionally, the amiguous "he checked out early this morning" comment in relation to the clearly not well Bobby's leaving the hospital without saying goodbye to Craig would leave the audience wondering if "checked out" isn't a euphemism for suicide or if he really has moved on and started a new life.... There is just enough ambiguity here to alleviate any concerns that the film isn't taking mental health disorders seriously, and just enough "fun" to avoid depressing the audience. And the "under pressure" sequence is one of the best sequences ever! P.S Zach Galifinakis is amazing in this role, really really surprised me.

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    • mjackson

      Jan 26th 2011, 16:45

      4

      I agree, with the above and think that you have overlooked the subtle stands which run throughout which deal with mental health. I think you've been a bit harsh on this film, its a 4 star movie in my books at least, maybe a 5?! Brilliantly put together, superb acting from a relatively new cast, Galifinakis was awesome! Hope he keeps at the serious roles as-well!! It bugged me at the end when your not sure if Bobby tried to kill himself again, but in the montage of Craig helping out at the clinic after he gets better, you see Bobby wrestling with the Egyptian guy to get him out of bed, therefore he's still alive. Loved this film...

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    • craigy111

      Jan 29th 2011, 3:44

      4

      I thought this was a great little film, it had for me a great balance between the serious and comedy. Zack Galifinakis I can see further down the line having more roles like this one where he isn't always going for the laughs and having more depth in the characters he plays. The Craig character I though was especially funny whenever he got distressed and fired his vomit half way over the room and the 'under pressure' sequence was great. Though the film did leave you wondering in the end about 'Zack's' character, I thought it was a good way to leave it, to let you make up your own mind if he tried again to kill himself or if he really did find a place to rebuild his life, I hope to see him play more roles like these.

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    • mokaroux

      Feb 2nd 2011, 14:43

      4

      TSCM inspections they used were really good.

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