It's Kind of a Funny Story (Review)

Zach Galifianakis highlights this mix of smart humanist comedy and affecting drama

Zack Galifianakis, he of the bushy beard and obtuse style, can be found on television (Dog Bites Man, Bored to Death and Reno 911!), the stand-up circuit (Zack Galifianakis: Live at the Purple Onion) and, of course, feature films (The Hangover, Dinner for Schmucks). He has certainly taken up residence in our cultural consciousness. This could be a problem if he he keeps punching the same line ad nauseum, but based on a rich mix of smart humanist comedy and affecting drama in It’s Kind of a Funny Story, Galifianakis is ready to extend his horizons.

Craig (Keir Gilchrist looking like Justin Long’s decidedly less hip younger brother) accidentally commits himself to a hospital psych ward after a mild suicidal episode where he encounters Bobby (Galifianakis), a “vacationing” father with a young daughter and his own suicidal issues, and Noelle (Emma Roberts), a young “cutter” who has marred her own beautiful face. Along the way, Craig will also become the instrument of change for not only Bobby and Noelle but also a host of other types locked in the ward.

Despite the earnestness of Gilchrist and the agreeable story from Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (the writing-directing team behind Half Nelson and Sugar), Galifianakis exerts such gravitational force that he sucks the audience into a tight orbit around Bobby. It's kind of funny to see Galifinakis twist his supporting role into an off-center lead. Grade: B-plus


Opens Oct. 8. Check out theaters and show times, see the trailer and get theater details here.
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