A dramedy set in a
psychiatric ward that works on a warm and cuddly level.
its title and protagonist It’s Kind Of A Funny Story is something of a muddle.
One minute it has some genuinely laugh out loud gags, the next it is pulling at
the heartstrings in ways that feel emotionally too raw for this genre. However,
it works on a level that will have you smiling like one would at a
(Gilchrist) is a teenager on the
edge. The problem is he’s not sure which edge and, worried he may be suicidal,
checks himself into a psychiatric war. With the ‘teen’ wing under construction
Craig finds himself in with the adults. There he rapidly begins to realise that
his problems are nothing compared to those around him. Before long Craig has
made friends with Bobby (Galifianakis)
and is falling for the charms of Noelle (Roberts)
who both help him with his healing process.
Boden and Fleck, who gave us the outstanding Half Nelson (2006), have the innate ability to draw you into their
characters. At first glance Craig could be seen as nothing more than a whinny
teenager, but thanks to a clever voice-over you realise he is just like us.
Craig simply worries about the problems most of us try to ignore. Little
matters such as what will I do with my life, how will I get girls to like me
and what is the point of it all are just some of the questions that Craig is so
anxious about. It would be easy to therefore dismiss him but Boden and Fleck
make it clear that even he understands how dramatic he is being.
this comes much of the humour and pathos of the film. As Craig drifts through
the ward encountering those with far greater problems he is able to put his own
life into perspective. It feels like
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) by way of One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest (1975) and as such makes for
surprisingly engaging viewing. Boden and Fleck should be commended for making
the script handle both the comedy and drama to just the right levels.
Admittedly the plot is slightly lost in the overall attention to character
development but you find yourself drawn to its quirks.
than anything the cast are the key selling point. Keir Gilchrist presents an
‘old before his days’ mentality combined with an innocent gaze that make for a
sympathetic edge to Craig. His leading lady Emma Roberts continues to find
roles that keep her away from the normal teenage angst and here brings a great
edge to the role of Noelle. On this form she will soon be rivalling Ellen Page
for the kilter girl-next-door roles that have become her staple. The stand out
though is Galifinanakis who gives a performance that hints at a more than
capable dramatic slant. Certainly his The Hangover and Due Date comedy is
present, but it takes second billing to a role that allows him to delve into an
emotional and fragile side we have not seen until now. If this is anything to
go by he is a hugely versatile actor.
getting into the character’s headspace It’s Kind Of A Funny Story warms its way
into your heart. Although it never quite makes for a well-rounded film it is
nonetheless a film that plays on all the emotions without ever force feeding
you the pathos. Check in, switch off and
enjoy some well-earned therapy.