“It’s Kind of a Funny Story”
a review by Darby O’Gill

It’s also kind of a good movie. Based on Ned Striking’s young-adult novel of the same name, It’s Kind of a Funny Story follows the journey of 16-year-old Craig Gilner (Keir Gilchrist) as he finds the adolescent pressures of high school life becoming too much to bare. But, when thoughts of suicide suddenly become more than just thoughts, Craig seeks help at a hospital on an early Sunday morning. One of the really nice things about this movie is its sense of realism… at times. One of which is Craig’s teenage sense of reason. He knows that he needs to be admitted in order to be helped, and doesn’t want to just be turned away. But, he also thinks he’ll just be given something, and back at school by Monday. Of course by the time Craig realizes that being committed to a psych ward is a little bit more complicated than that, it’s too little too late. And with the youth hall being renovated, the reality of having to stay in the adult psychiatric ward, also quickly become a reality for young Craig. Sure, the movie is just one step above an After School Special, but I don’t think this was meant to be an art house masterpiece. I think it was meant to speak to young people, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. With teen suicides unfortunately on the upswing, I think this movie is actually in the perfect position to possibly help some kids. The story doesn’t deal with bullying or gay issues, but this truthful look at teenage anxiety, could very well reach some of those at risk kids. There are some really funny moments in the film, as well as heartfelt ones, but over all it’s a little too sugar coated to leave its mark on cinema history. Not to mention some nicely animated cityscape illustrations, that would make Wesley Willis proud. The cast gives an outstanding performance, including Zack Galifianakis, who also gives a great performance as Bobby, a fellow patient. He’s his normal funny self, but there is a more tender, and deep side to this character that manages to emerge a little more so than his normal awkwardly goofy funny man character. For lack of a better comparison It’s Kind of a Funny Story is an After School Special version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Mostly because it’s told from the patient’s perspective, but also because it shows that it’s the relationships and interaction of the patients that is what ultimately helps them the most in the end.

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