It's Kind of a Funny Story (Review)

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

Oct 7, 2010 at 2:06 pm

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.