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Monday, April 18, 2011

Film Review: It's Kind of a Funny Story

It's Kind of a Funny StoryIt's Kind of a Funny Story
DVD Release Date: February 8, 2011
Rated PG-13 (Focus Features)
Starring Keir Gilchrist, Zach Galifianakis, Emma Roberts, Viola Davis and Zoe Kravitz
An Independent Review by Stephanie

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Summary (Courtesy of Moviefone):
What's a 16-year-old boy doing playing music and table tennis with adult psychiatric patients -- on a school day? It's kind of a funny story...'It's Kind of a Funny Story', adapted from Ned Vizzini's 2006 novel of the same name, is the new comedy-drama from acclaimed writer/directors Ryan Fleck & Anna Boden.

It's 5:00 AM on a Sunday in Brooklyn. Craig Gilner (played by Keir Gilchrist of "United States of Tara") is bicycling up to the entrance of a mental health clinic; this bright 16-year-old is stressed out from the demands of being a teenager. Before his parents (Lauren Graham [of "Parenthood"] and Jim Gaffigan [of 'Away We Go']) and younger sister are even awake, Craig checks himself into Argenon Hospital and is admitted by a psychiatrist. But the youth ward is temporarily closed -- so he finds himself stuck in the adult ward. One of the patients, Bobby (Zach Galifianakis of 'The Hangover'), soon becomes both Craig's mentor and protege. Craig is also quickly drawn to another 16-year-old displaced to the adult ward, the sensitive Noelle (Emma Roberts of the upcoming 'Scream 4'), who just might make him forget his longtime unrequited crush Nia (Zoe Kravitz of the upcoming 'Mad Max'). With a minimum five days' stay imposed on him by the adult ward's staff psychiatrist Dr. Eden Minerva (Academy Award nominee Viola Davis), Craig is sustained by friendships on both the inside and the outside as he learns more about life, love, and the pressures of growing up.

Based on the book by Ned Vizzini, It's Kind of a Funny Story tells the tale of Craig Gilner, a 15 year old boy just about to start high school. He's been accepted to a very prestigious private school, but he feels a lot of pressure and gets really depressed. His family is very supportive and help him with therapy and the like. In therapy, he is prescribed Zoloft, which works very well for him, until he decides he's better and doesn't need it anymore. His depression comes back with a vengeance, so he does the rational thing. He calls the Suicide Hot Line, who tell him it would probably be a good idea for him to check himself into the hospital for 72 hour observation. Due to over-crowding, he is put in the adult psychiatric ward. During the 5 days he spends there, he learns about life, love, and how to cope with this big, crazy world. Here's the trailer:

The premise of this film is a very good one. The book is a best-seller, so people had to like it. The casters had to be thinking, "Hey, let's put Zack Galifinakis in it as the crazy best friend. He's great at that." Though a faithful adaptation, the film itself was slowly paced and mind numbingly boring. It was described by a fellow viewer as being akin to banging one's head into a wall until you can't feel anything, and then going back for another round when sensation returns. It is funny in parts, but the comedy is lost in all the tedium. I thought psych wards were supposed to be interesting. The ending is incredibly cheesy, just like the book. Our young lead naively hopes to continue his relationship with Noelle, the troubled girl he met in the psych ward. You've got to be kidding me! The viewer is left to wonder what will happen when the shiny, new world on the outside becomes real for him.

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