Quirky, coming-of-age indies are about a dime a dozen nowadays, and It’s Kind of a Funny Story is just that. However, thankfully Keir Gilchrist, Emma Roberts and Zach Galifianakis help make this familiar story feel fresh and charming. When 16-year old Craig (Gilchrist) checks himself into a mental clinic as a way of dealing with his thoughts of suicide, his new environment, some unlikely friends and young love just might be enough to help him realize that the stress he’s feeling at this stage in his life is inconsequential compared to some of the problems of those surrounding him. Read my take on the Blu-Ray release of this comedic drama after the jump.
When you’re a teen, feeling like the world is on your shoulders while simultaneously crumbling around you isn’t an uncommon occurrence. But when teen angst turns to thoughts of committing suicide, obviously something needs to be done. Thankfully, Craig has a good enough head on his shoulders to check himself into a mental hospital as soon as these thoughts of suicide manifest themselves. While his escapades inside the hospital may bring about resolution in his life a little too quickly, the supporting cast really makes it work. Zach Galifianakis shows that he has some dramatic chops and can do more than just peculiar over-the-top characters from The Hangover and Due Date. More roles like this would certainly help avoid typecasting down the road and could give him a career in comedy and drama akin to Jim Carrey or Adam Sandler. Meanwhile Emma Roberts is a lovely but damaged girl who makes being confident and secretly insecure look easy.
As a whole, It’s Kind of a Funny Story is decent, but it’s moreseo the individual scenes that shine on their own. A particularly fun sequence involves Craig and some of the other mental patients performing Queen’s Under Pressure in a great dream concert sequence. But most of the best moments come when Craig interacts with Bobby (Galifianakis). The friendship between these two characters feels so genuine and sincere, that the familiarity and somewhat fickle nature of Craig’s problems don’t weaken the story as much as otherwise could. Of course, Galifianakis delviers some of the humor we’ve come to expect, but it doesn’t overwhelm or discredit the heavier and more emotional scenes which he knocks out of the park.
In addition, Roberts and Gilchrist seem to have some natural chemistry as they awkwardly but adorably begin a little romance amidst their personal issues. Honestly, it’s nothing that we haven’t seen from indie teenage romances before, but I’m a sucker for these kind of stories, and the two teenage talents really sell it well.
Directors and writers Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck do their best with a familiar story based on Ned Vizzini’s book of the same name, and their efforts have allowed a great supporting cast and a decent script to deliver a charming indie that thrives despite being somewhat derivative, and maybe fleeting in its approach to depression and mental instability. The film isn’t necessarily meant to be a deep dive into the psychology of the human mind, but rather a touching story that just might make those of us with problems rethink just how much they impact our lives.
Honestly, the special features leave something to be desired, but here’s the rundown of the extras:
Deleted Scenes: Here’s there’s a montage of his voicemails, a few more moments with Bobby, and more.
Outtakes: This gag reel runs a little long, but with Zach Galifianakis involved, it’s sure to bring plenty of laughs.
A Look Inside This is one of those short and sweet featurettes that moreso promotes the film rather than providing any valuable behind the scenes footage and interviews
Premiere in New York City Another short featurette at the film’s premiere with some brief interviews with the cast and crew.
THE FINAL WORD: It’s Kind of a Funny Story is a decent enough indie with some heart and laughs, but unless you’re a true HD snob, it’s probably not necessary for you to pick this film up on Blu-Ray. There aren’t any special features specific to the Blu-Ray release, and the supplements themselves aren’t anything fantastic. If you’re a fan of the film, it’s probably worth a purchase, but if you haven’t seen it, I’d say give it a rental first to try it out.