DVD Review - "It's Kind of a Funny Story"

When his depression deepens and casual suicidal thoughts turn to near-action, teen-aged Craig (Keir Gilcrest) decides to take the situation out of his own hands and checks himself into a mental institute. Hoping for a quick fix to his problems, he soon finds himself locked away for a week inside the adult wing of the hospital while the teen side is remodeled. While undergoing the therapy he hoped to avoid, Craig begins to make new friends, including Bobby (Zach Galifianakis), a gentle soul who can't seem to adjust to the realities of the outside world, and Noelle (Emma Roberts), another teen whose suicidal thoughts have taken on more drastic measures than his own. Through these new bonds, Craig seems to bloom, to become a real person instead of the obligatory well behaved, overachieving adolescent he's always felt he had to be. Confronting the expectations that have been innocently placed upon him by his parents, his friends, and his own mind, Craig fights to discover his real identity.

I cannot recommend "It's Kind of a Funny Story" highly enough. Writer, director, and cast all come together for a near seamless coming-of-age comedy that dwells in the quirky but never heavy handedly. It is a pleasant mix of "Garden State" and "500 Days of Summer" centered around a slightly younger crowd. Writer/director team Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck penned a brilliant script that puts each of the cast in a position to shine. The film moves well, never lingering excessively but also without passing anything over. Each issue is handled with grace, which prevents "Funny Story" from becoming bitter or sad. Craig's parents (Lauren Graham and Jim Gaffigan) are shown to be caring, loving people who share in the blame for their son's current situation only through accident, instead laying the blame at the feet of a society that expects too much of its children. Gilcrist, meanwhile, is exceedingly likable, an actor/character you immediately and genuinely gravitate toward. And while each of the supporting cast have their moments, Galifianakis shines the brightest, delivering an honest portrayal that gives the story an added layer of depth. Though perhaps a bit shallow at times, "Funny Story" is a huge success, a warm, heartfelt, and even fun movie that holds its own with the very best quirky comedies.

Grade: A