KEIR GILCHRIST ZACH GALIFIANAKIS EMMA ROBERTS VIOLA DAVIS LAUREN GRAHAM
IT’S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY
It’s more like a mostly funny story, only about a very serious problem plaguing youth. Suicidal depression is made light of in this new offbeat comedy that is desperate to be a “dark comedy” but just can’t let go of those foreseeable quips that most successful box office comedies include. If you go to this movie looking for lots of laughs you will see the majority of them in the trailer. I couldn’t help be reminded of Zach Braff’s sweeper hit Garden State; this film seems to want to follow the same pattern but fails to achieve even the slightest amount of authenticity.
16 year old Craig (Gilchrist) has decided to check himself into a mental ward after his overwhelming dreams and thoughts of suicide. He explains to the doctor Davis) he has been depressed for over a year with all the pressure of school, college applications and social problems, mostly with girls. He enters into a five day stay, and after a brief tour wants released as he feels everyone is worse off than he. His parents insist he stay and follow the doctor’s orders, and so Craig makes new friends, one a middle aged failed father Bobby (Galifianakis) who in his own way is very wise. Craig also meets Noelle (Roberts) who likes to cut herself, but finds Craig sweet.
True It’s Kind of a Funny Story is more mature than the hoards of brainless movies centered on teenagers. However, I am not sure that directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck understand the youth culture they are presenting nor clinical depression. The initial problem this script has is it fails to explore Craig’s true problem with depression if there is one, he talks about it, mopes around but that’s ever 16 year old boy. I don’t think this film takes the dramatic side serious enough, it’s too worried about the number of laughs and clever remarks to really explore the difficult characters its displaying, especially Bobby.
I can’t help but compare this to Girl, Interrupted a far superior film with the same themes of someone dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts. Emma Roberts, who is Julia Roberts niece seems to have studied her aunts Closer co-star a little too much, Roberts every move, mannerism and even dialect is taken directly from Portman’s Garden State character. Sure she is likeable and maybe even the better part of the film, but it’s a copycat performance. “If I were you for a day, I would live like it meant something” that’s probably the most profound quote from the movie. The only scene that really brought a smile to my face was the ridiculous musical number in the middle of the movie; however the rest of the dream like sequences were clichés borrowed from similar movies.
Final Thought – Good intentions, but fails to make the most of the dramatic elements.
By: Dustin Chase W.
Editor: Jennifer Gih