Cheesy titles don’t always make cheesy movies.
Being a teenager is too much for 16-year-old Craig (Keir Gilchrist), who shocks his parents (Lauren Graham and Jim Gaffigan) by checking himself into a mental health clinic for a little R & R. But when the youth ward is unexpectedly closed, he’s forced to live among the adult patients.
Being a teenager can be a bitch, hell, I should know because even though I’am the big 18, that still means I have lots of more problems to come along with me in life. All teenagers have gone through that time in life where you all of a sudden get very sad, depressed, and almost start changing into a whole different person. This actually happened to me and in order to get my sadness out of me, I made what you now may know as, Dan the Man’s Movie Reviews. Yes, sadness created this happy-go-lucky review site.
The tag-team of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (‘Half Nelson, ‘Sugar‘) capture what it is to be sad and almost feel like you are the only one who feels like this. They also have a great deal of funny moments that really kept me laughing and get past more of the fluffy moments that actually happen. There is drama here as well but it’s not particularly over-dramatic which was good, but in a way, a little bit of a problem that I had with this film.
The film made me feel for the characters and get attached to the story but there were too many moments where I felt like this film fell into the fun-loving idea of these little teenagers being teenagers, and stepped away from the sadness that happens with depression and suicide. There were times where it got a little dark, but never to the point of where it felt compelling or believable enough. I guess that Boden and Fleck were afraid to get too dark and depressive when they have all of these funny moments but I still would have liked to see more.
Another part of this film I never understood was why exactly were these crazy people and suicidal people in the same exact ward together? I realize I may be nit-picking just a bit but I don’t think that totally insane people would be together with these angsty kids that are on the suicide watch or anything. I also never understood why all of these kids brought Craig stuff from the outside world but the stuff was never checked and how anybody could bring anything they wanted to bring. I mean if a kid really wanted to off himself, he could have easily just called up his best bud to bring him his gun. It would be as easy that.
The cast is fun and probably what always makes this film fun to watch. Keir Gilchrist is pretty good as the nervous, sort of sad, and pretty awkward Craig that always seems to know how his potential but for some reason can’t get by it. Gilchrist is good at making this character likable even though we never understand fully as to why he’s so sad, but it’s easy to actually stand behind the kid. Emma Roberts is also good as his little romantic interest, a girl named Noelle, who even though we never understand why she’s in there, we just know that she is cool and always lets Craig be himself, when it seems like he never will. They create a good chemistry together but they weren’t in this film together as much as I was expecting.
The best part of this whole cast was actually Zach Galifianakis as Bobby. Zach is so good here because he shows a lot of the usual goofy and eccentric comedy that has made him so known, but he’s not as hyper and crazy as he usually is, which probably makes him a lot easier to stand as a character. Bobby also has a very dark side to him which is what Zach shows a lot of promise in basically having you really get behind his character, and believe that this guy could be so funny, yet so sad deep down inside.
Consensus: It’s Kind of a Funny Story is pretty funny, entertaining, and features a lot of heart as well, but it almost feels like it’s a little too scared to step into some very dark spots where I think it would have really worked a whole lot more if the directors and writers went that extra mile.