Have you ever wondered what “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” would have been like if John Hughes directed it?
Based on Ned Vizzini’s 2006 novel by the same name, “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” stars Keir Gilchrist as Craig, a stressed-out 16-year-old who checks himself into a psychiatric ward. What he thinks will be an in-and-out quick fix turns out to be a five day minimum hold.
While inside, Craig makes friends with some of the other patients including Bobby (Zach Galifianakis) and Noelle (Emma Roberts). Craig finds love, learns about life, and by the end of the five days everything is fixed and everyone lives happily ever after.
“Funny Story” is supposed to be a dark comedy except the comedy part wasn’t that funny. It was more awkward and
uncomfortable than anything else.
The screenwriters, Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (“Half Nelson” and “Sugar”), tried to infuse some humor but the laughs coming from the audience weren’t genuine. It was more like the polite/ nervous laughter you get when the crowd isn’t quite sure how to react.
For me, the story was centered around the wrong character. We’re supposed to care about Craig but he’s just boring and really uninteresting. Turn’s out Galifianakis’ Bobby is the only kind of funny one in the entire film.
Like a lot of other people, I came out of 2009’s “The Hangover” in love with Alan and his alter ego Galifianakis. Walking into “Funny Story,” knowing that it takes place in a crazy institute, I expected him to be completely over-the-top, but his character had real heart and a sensitivity that Craig lacked. He was the only one I cared about.
The ending was also a problem. After five days, a group therapy session, and a musical number (which was kind of great), Craig is totally cured. Really? Because about 90 minutes ago he was ready to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge, but now he has a girlfriend so everything is hunky-dory. It just didn’t work for me.
Overall, there were a couple of highlights (Galifianakis and some interesting graphics) but I wasn’t too impressed. I was just really disappointed in it, I wanted it to be better than it was. In the end, I think it was my high expectations that ruined it for me.
- Movie Review | ‘It’s Kind of a Funny Story’: A Coming-of-Age Tale, Set Among the Sad (movies.nytimes.com)
- “It’s Kind of a Funny Story”: Zach Galifianakis’ dramatic breakthrough (salon.com)
- It’s Kind of a Funny Story needs some Xanax (charlestoncitypaper.com)