REVIEW: It’s Kind of a Funny Story

15 06 2011

Any good movie fan instantly associates insane asylums with “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest,” Milos Forman’s classic that is one of only three films ever to score Oscar’s Big Five (Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, and Screenplay).  It’s a ridiculously unfair standard for any movie to be measured against, so naturally, when a movie like “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” comes along that treads similar waters, it can’t help but disappoint coming straight out of the gate.  The dramedy just exacerbates the disparity by dealing with the thin line between sanity and insanity in a noticeably more juvenile manner.

The movie piddles around in the messed-up mind of narrator Craig Gilner (Keir Gilchrist), a suicidal teenager who checks himself into a psychiatric hospital after failing to execute a plan to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge.  As we find out, he’s just a little misunderstood, buckling under the pressure of being a teenager in the modern world.  And since I’m eighteen and heading off to college, I should totally understand and relate, right?  Wrong.  Craig is hardly a sympathetic character, and Gilchrist portrays him so awkwardly that it’s really hard to care about anything that happens to him.

Thankfully, directors Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden – who have fallen far from their 2006 debut feature “Half Nelson” – don’t saddle us with only watching Craig deal with his demons for the whole movie.  They stock the nuthouse with other mildly amusing characters, primarily Zach Galifianakis as fellow patient Bobby.  He brings a few laughs but mainly makes you wonder whether Alan from “The Hangover” belongs in an institution since he’s not all that different from his character here.  There’s also some corny, schmaltzy romance between Craig and Noelle, played by Emma Roberts, which doesn’t work at all since the two have zero chemistry.  It’s hard to believe this movie came from an esteemed novel, so do yourself a favor and watch the aforementioned acclaimed movie based on an acclaimed novel.  C / 

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2 responses

26 06 2011
Sam Fragoso

Really?

This one made it on my runner up list last year. Nuanced and heartwarming – and the relationship between the two was original enough for me to enjoy.

Sorry you had a bad time. Though I must say, comparing films to “One Flew Over” is kinda of unfair.

Does this mean every time you see a film set in New York City you instantly compare it to a Woody Allen picture?

26 06 2011
Marshall

It wasn’t just the setting that made me make the comparison; it was that it tried to tread some of the same ground. Like a sort of childish rip-off.

And no, I don’t compare any movies set in NYC to a Woody Allen movie, largely because there are too many of them! But I must say I laughed when I saw that question in your comment!!!

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