Thursday, August 11, 2011

It's Kind of a Funny Story

It’s Kind of a Funny Story is just that, kind of funny. It’s also kind of odd. I wasn’t sure how to feel about it. The subject matter is so depressing, but at no time did I feel depressed. That’s a good thing, because I was in the mood for kind of a funny movie.

Craig is a clinically depressed teenager. There doesn’t seem to be anything depressing about his life other than stress and the resulting stress-vomit. Craig, instead of jumping off a bridge, stops at the emergency room and is admitted to a psychiatric hospital.

Craig is played by Keir Gilchrist, a young actor with a resume spanning dozens of TV shows. He’s pretty good, though Craig is kind of a vacant character. He reminds me of a dead-pan Jay Baruschel. The comedy kind of happens around Craig and it’s really his reactions that bring the laughs. The story is Craig-centric, however it’s the other patients of Argenon Hospital that make the movie so good.

Craig first meets Bobby, the wise sage of Argenon Hospital. Bobby is played expertly by Zach Galifianakis. This film proves that Zach is an actor, and not just a crazy person. Interestingly enough, Bobby is a crazy person, but Zach plays him pretty tame. Still, Zach manages to be hilarious. The gorgeous Emma Roberts plays Noelle, a relatively new patient that Craig instantly connects with. She has scars of her own. She’s brilliant here and I expect to see her shine in more indie movies.

There are other patients as well, and a few of them are pretty important to the story. However, they are tragically under-developed. Craig’s roommate Muqtada plays kind of an important role and we never really learn about him. He seems tacked on. Jeremy Davies, plays Smitty, a hipster dude who works for the hospital, but I have no idea what his job is. I like the actor so I wish we’d see more of him.

I’m no expert but it seems like the writers have taken some liberties with hospital rules. Craig is underage but because the youth wing is under renovation he is forced to stay with adults. Something tells me that wouldn’t happen in real life. Correct me if I’m wrong. He is also allowed to have a female visitor in his room not chaperoned. This seems unrealistic to me.

There are some great imaginary scenes, based around Craig’s artwork, that are pretty to look at and add some color to the dull hospital scenery. This reminded me a little of 500 Days of Summer. The music class scene, where Craig is forced to play lead vocals is nothing short of amazing and if for nothing else, makes this movie worth watching.

Despite a few issues, this is a charming movie. The characters needed some more development. Not everything about this movie seemed realistic, so the drama wasn't all that convincing. It's not perfect, but it's kind of funny, just like the patients of Argenon Hospital.

3.5 other people with issues…




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