I’ve always had a certain fondness for mental institution yarns. ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST. Donald Westlake’s Tucker Coe novel WAX APPLE. Things like that. Maybe because I’ve always suspected that I’m a little crazy myself, but that’s neither here nor there. We’re here today to talk about IT’S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY, which fits solidly in the mental institution genre.
This film centers around 16-year-old Craig (Keir Gilchrist), who checks himself into a mental health facility because he’s been having suicidal thoughts. Once he gets there, though, he finds that because of renovations to the facility, the teenage patients have been put in with the adult patients, which isn’t what he bargained for. He wants out, but he has to stay there five days before he can be re-evaluated and released.
There’s not a lot that will surprise you in this movie. Craig connects with some of the patients and various people learn important lessons, including him. He makes friends with a troubled but wise older guy who becomes his mentor (Zach Galifianakis). He meets a young female patient (Emma Roberts, who is rapidly becoming much prettier than her more famous aunt) and begins a promising romance with her. There are some funny moments, some dramatic moments, some “aww” moments.
But predictable or not, when things are done really well, they still work, and that’s the case here. The acting is good all around, the script is well-written, and IT’S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY is just a very enjoyable film, other than several instances of vomiting. When the hell did it become okay for people to throw up on-screen in movies? I hate that!
But I recommend the movie anyway.
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