HUB Titles: It’s Kind of a Funny Story
I’ve been known to crack some jokes here at Onward State. Most of my stories are as serious as a one-legged orphan kitten getting punched in the face by a Native American being forced off his land. That is some super downer stuff right there. Dig through some of my past stories, though, and you just might let loose a chuckle or two. But would I ever joke about mental illness? Of course not. I’m not that heartless. “It’s Kind of a Funny Story,” however, was just crazy enough to try it. The result just might blow your mind.
The Premise: After thinking about jumping off a bridge and making the highway that much more depressing, Craig Gilner (Keir Gilchrist) admits himself into a psychiatric hospital. Due to hospital regulations, Craig has to stay there a bit longer than he originally intended. Luckily, fellow patient Bobby (Zach Galifianakis) is willing to be the Obi Wan to Craig’s Boba Fett and shows him around the ward. Along the way, Craig conveniently discovers that a girl named Noelle (Emma Roberts) that is conveniently his age has also conveniently ended up in this hospital. It’s almost like a familiar movie plot or something.
The Performance: Without Zach Galifianakis, I probably wouldn’t even have the energy to write this. Gilner is fine as the lead but his awkwardness is grating at times and his “mental problems” come off as overexaggerated teenage angst throughout the whole movie. Bobby and Noelle clearly have some deep personal trauma to them, and Craig is worried about college. Get over yourself. Craig’s funny moments are the result of some snappy writing that would be equally as funny coming from anybody. Galifianakis has some great punchlines and still gets us to care about his character. Not an easy feat.
Other Thoughts: The film manages not to resort to demeaning the mentally ill and should be applauded for it. Yes, there are some “yelling gibberish” jokes but it doesn’t get out of hand. The funniest parts come about from witty banter, visual gags, and plain old Galifianakis tomfoolery. The psychiatric ward is just a backdrop to the comedic action taking place within it. There is also a lot of drama. The film basically follows a “laugh, sad, laugh, sad, laugh” formula. They also strangely give up on Bobby’s storyline near the end of the movie. A shame. Finally, there is a performance of Queen’s “Under Pressure” that should never be forgotten. You have been warned.
Final Verdict: Mauled by a Koala. Overall, there is a darkness to the whole affair. You’ll want to feel sad but you can’t resist laughing at times. There’s nothing cliché about it and everything really had to be just right to make this happen. When it comes down to it, you’ll have a memorable story to tell your friends about.