Peace, Understanding, Galifinakis

Derek Anderson
Journal Staff

“What I would do to just be you for a day?” Bobby remarks to Craig. “I’d just live.”

Can a five day stay in a mental ward really shed light on what’s important in life? It did in Craig’s case. It’s Kind of a Funny Story (2010, Focus Features), based on the book written by Ned Vizzini, starts with 16-year-old Craig contemplating jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge. Instead of leaping to his death, Craig rides his bike to a hospital, where he admits himself to a mental ward to stave off thoughts of suicide. When he’s actually admitted for five days, Craig is surprised what he discovers within himself and other patients staying in the ward.

It’s Kind of a Funny Story is a great story of finding inner peace and understanding while dealing with the struggles of growing up. After being admitted for a five-day-minimum stay, Craig must deal with his feelings as well as the wide variety of patients within the ward. With the teen center under renovations, the teen patients, including Craig, are forced to live and coexist with the adult patients. These forced relationships between Craig and the patients are what really drives him to find what’s truly important in life.

The cast of this movie was phenomenal. The combo of personality, mixed with the script writing really made the cast pop and catch viewers’ attention. With a bigger star, Zach Galifianakis, and smaller but recognizable actors like Emma Roberts, Jim Gaffigan, and Lauren Graham, the film was well balanced with characters. Keir Gilchrist plays the lead role of Craig, and does a wonderful job playing a witty teenager who is just trying to understand the world that’s changing in front of him. Galifianakis steals the spotlight when on-screen as Bobby, a father struggling to make it on his own again. While keeping his standard comedic presence, he adds a nice side of seriousness to his role, providing simple wisdom to Craig throughout his stay. These characters do a great job pulling the story away from being a traditional angst-ridden teen flick.

In no way is this movie incredible, however. It’s definitely above average in my books, but I’m sure critics will find issues with some of the writing, characters, and how it was shot. There are instances where it fast-forwards through scenes with narration. Some could see this as a cop out. I see it as a stylistic choice. When it comes down to it, it matched the rest of the movie. Critics have also mentioned that when stood up against the book, It’s Kind of a Funny Story in film form isn’t as good. Coming from someone who hasn’t read the book, the movie was great standing alone. In the end, this is a feel good movie. It will make you think about what’s important in your life. What’s to be treasured in life? What is passing by without notice? Where are we all going? These are all thoughts that will enter viewers’ heads after watching the flick. Whether it’s Craig’s reclusive Egyptian roommate or a bunch of mental patients rocking out to Queen’s “Under Pressure”, It’s Kind of a Funny Story will definitely get laughs and smiles.