This afternoon we went to see It’s Kind of a Funny Story, a film starring Zach Galifianakis about a teenager who checks himself into a mental health facility and his five mandatory days of self discovery there. The film dances on the line between comedy and drama, but never takes the leap towards seriously being either. The film felt familiar, as the basic plot has been done several times before. Troubled youth is desperate, finds himself trapped in an uncomfortable situation, discovers the beauty in others he didn’t see before, and discovers the potential within himself.
The film is fun, but the characters are shallow. Keir Gilchrist does a great job of playing an emo kid and Emma Roberts is charming as an atypical teenage girl with an apathy for approval and a mature musical taste. However, both are supposed to be deeply troubled and that point is altogether ignored or missed entirely. Zach Galifianakis is excellent as Bobby, the only multi-dimensional character in the film. The action is interweaved with quick, but smart narratives, dream sequences, and an awesome, costumed rendition of Queen and David Bowie’s Under Pressure.
Although the film’s characters and plot could have more realistic development, I enjoyed what it did get right. Craig (the main character) exists as an above average teenager stuck in an above above average world. Even when we have a lot going for us, even when we are dealt a good hand of cards, life can be hard. We all handle the difficulties of life differently and sometimes we just need to be reminded of what truly matters. I’d recommend the film, but probably as a Netflix rental.
Also, an obstacle for LOST fans may be the part of Smitty, played by Jeremy Davies. It may be just me, but it was basically Daniel Faraday working in that mental facility. I kept waiting for time to shift and for him to start rambling about physics. AND, the film does a great job of making a mental hospital seem like a pretty neat place. All day naps, arts and crafts, musical expression, getting points for eating? Sounds pretty awesome to me.