“IT’S A FUNNY KIND OF STORY” (Keir Gilchrist, Zach Galifianakis & Emma Roberts)
Good title. It IS a funny kind of story. Funny on different levels though. It isn’t funny that the lead character, Craig (Keir Gilchrist) is a teenager who contemplates suicide on almost a daily basis so he checks himself into a mental ward instead of riding his bike to the bridge and jumping off like he planned that morning. But it IS funny when the first person he comes in contact with is a scruffy looking doctor whose questions become more odd as the ‘interview’ proceeds. When said ‘scruffy’ doctor turns out to be a patient named Bobby (Zach Galifianakis) you realize that you’re not going to be viewing your ‘normal’ teenager-with-an-I don’t-fit-in-complex tale.
Craig, put in with the ‘mentally disturbed’ adults because the teenage wing of the hospital is being renovated, quickly decides he made a poor choice & asks to leave. He is informed that once you check yourself in as a potential suicide victim, you’re locked in for five days. “But I have an important test at school tomorrow,” Craig whines. “Should have thought of that before deciding to end your life,” his ‘Doctor-while-committed replies.
Without going into detail, I can relate to this situation – not having suicidal tendencies, but being labeled ‘emotionally disturbed’ when I was 15 & being sent to a ‘home’ for such – So I enjoyed this film quite a lot, though I could easily see where ‘normal’ people may not be able to relate to it as well. So as I go singing the praises of everything about it, keep that in mind – I don’t want anyone telling me ‘you’re nuts for liking this movie so much!’ – I’m already aware of that fact, thank you.
Emma Roberts plays Noelle, another suicidal teen kept in the adult ward, who bonds with Craig after the boy makes a generous offer in an attempt to help Bobby. She mopes and does her best Kristen Stewart impersonation, but then she actually snaps out it and becomes sweet & likeable (Which is why they didn’t hired ‘one-note’ Stewart for the role)
Lauren Graham & Jim Gaffigan play Craig’s parents, who, if anything, are the complete opposite of the type of parents you would expect to raise a suicidal kid.
The only actor that didn’t impress me much was the Oscar nominated (for ‘Doubt’) Viola Davis. She plays Dr. Minerva, the in-house psychiatrist and I thought she misfired on practically every scene she was in. Inappropriate grins are what annoyed me the most. Okay, WE know ‘it’s a funny kind of story’, but as a shrink dealing with people that have suicidal tendencies, you shouldn’t be so amused by your clients when they’re spilling their guts out to you... Another of those little tidbits that bugged me.
I actually believe that Zach Galifianakis will receive an Oscar Nod for his performance here; not that he stood out all that much, but SOMEONE from this cast HAS to get a nomination & he was the best of an excellent bunch.
And Gilchrist will be interesting to watch – this is HIS movie and the kid held his own, though Craig doesn’t change all that much, it’s the people he comes in contact with that make him see his worth – for a young actor to carry a good film in virtually every scene is impressive.
To express the one thing that I felt the film lacked would be a complete spoiler, so it’s best that I leave that criticism out. Just remember, I liked this film a lot... but I was also once cuckoo for Coco Puffs...