Thursday, February 2, 2012

It's Kind of a Funny Story

"It's Kind of A Funny Story" (2010) is a film based on the novel of the same title written by Ned Vizzini and was adapted for the screenplay by the team of Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden who also worked together on "Half Nelson" (2006) and "Sugar" (2008). Ned Vizzini is a talented Young Adult writer that writes with an edge of personal experience focusing on a teen protagonist that struggles with self-identity.

The film is about Craig (Keir Gilchrist) who is filled with teen angst, and is struggeling between the ideal that his parents (Jim Gaffigan and Lauren Graham) have for him and what he wants for himself. Craig is looking for a quick way to escape from the pressures of being a youth that is scared about his future, his parents and a crush on a girl (Zoe Kravitz). Looking for a quick fix with medication, he finds himself in an adult psychiatric ward and a minimum observation period of five days. He meets people that help him realize that he doesn't have to be afraid of being himself. Craig meets Bobby (Zack Galifianakis), who is hiding from his own life, and an attractive teenage girl his age, Noelle (Emma Roberts), that is a cutter. It is through the interactions with the others in the psych ward that Craig comes to the realization that he still has a lot to work out and deal with, but he also has plenty to live for.

It was fun to see Zack Galifianakis outside of a comedy like "Hangover" or "Due Date" (2010). Even though he provides the comic relief to the film, he also offers some poignant moments in the development of the story and shows a small amount of maturity not usually seen in his films. Emma Roberts continues to be the "it girl" that is on the cusp of growing up and taking on more serious roles, but is doing well with the complicated girl role as she followed up with "the Art of Getting By" (2011). Keir Gilchrist is a quirky young actor that even though is the center of the film is quietly in the background of better performances. Even the smaller performances from Viola Davis and Jeremy Davies stand out as more memorable. I admit I am a fan of everything Viola Davis has done, including "The Help", and Jeremy Davies as Daniel Faraday in "Lost".

The Bob Dylan quote in the film "He not busy being born is dying" is very important to the growth of all of the characters in the film, and is a reminder to the audience to continue working towards the things you want in life. The film is a refreshingly different type of a teen movie that is about young adults and their day-to-day life as compared to the insultingly simple sex comedy. Certainly a 4 Quack film that I wish I saw in the theater.

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