Blu-Ray Review: ‘It’s Kind of a Funny Story’ is Kind of a Good Movie

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CHICAGO – I’m conflicted about Ryan Fleck & Anna Boden’s “It’s Kind of a Funny Story,” a good movie that I think a lot of people wanted to be great. After Fleck & Boden’s spectacular one-two punch of “Half Nelson” and “Sugar,” I think we started to expect that they would hit a home run every time. So, this one’s just a single. It’s still a creative hit despite its flaws. Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0

Once again, Fleck & Boden prove they are uninterested in the auteur theory, making a third film that feels little like their second, which felt little like their first. “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” features fantasy sequences and extreme situations that don’t seem born from the same creative voices as “Half Nelson” or “Sugar.” But that’s one of the things that makes me want to like “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” even more. As much as I have my favorite auteurs, I’m always fond of those who surprise me every time out as well.

It's Kind of a Funny Story was released on Blu-ray and DVD on February 8th, 2011
It’s Kind of a Funny Story was released on Blu-ray and DVD on February 8th, 2011
Photo credit: Universal

The surprise this time is in a story about a young man dealing with depression by surrounding himself with people who truly have it much worse than his silly high school drama. The fact is that when we’re in high school we think every problem is the end of the world and Craig (Keir Gilchrist of “United States of Tara”) is particularly moody, so much so that he checks himself into a psychiatric ward just as the teens are being temporarily housed with the adults.

A much-lighter version of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” ensues in which Craig meets a wonderful, beautiful girl named Noelle (Emma Roberts) and makes friends with a troubled soul named Bobby (career-best work from Zach Galifianakis). The great Viola Davis co-stars as the head doctor and Lauren Graham and Jim Gaffigan play Craig’s parents.

“It’s Kind of a Funny Story” is a rollercoaster of moods and styles as Boden and Fleck go back and forth from romance to comedy to drama and never quite get a firm grip on any of it. “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” never falls apart but never clicks together, falling in that gray area in between where movies are “okay.” It may not be the most critically resonant assessment, but rarely has a movie been more “okay” than “It’s Kind of a Funny Story.”

“Zach Galifianakis, Keir Gilchrist, Lauren Graham and Emma Roberts star in this uplifting comedy about finding sanity in the most unlikely of places. Sometimes what’s in your head isn’t as crazy as you think…that’s certainly true for Craig (Gilchrist), a stressed-out teenager who checks himself into a mental health clinic for some time out. What he finds instead is an unlikely mentor (Galifianakis), a potential new romance (Roberts) and an opportunity to begin anew. Charming, witty and smart, it’s a coming-of-age story that’s kind of a funny story…”

Special Features:
o Deleted Scenes
o Outtakes
o A Look Inside It’s Kind of a Funny Story
o It’s Kind of a Funny Story Premiere in New York City

“It’s Kind of a Funny Story” stars Keir Gilchrist, Zach Galifianakis, Lauren Graham, Emma Roberts, Viola Davis, and Jim Gaffigan. It was written for the screen and directed by Ryan Fleck & Anna Boden. It was released on Blu-ray and DVD on February 8th, 2011. It is rated PG-13 and runs 102 minutes. content director Brian Tallerico

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