A "kind of" decent comedy
"It's Kind of a Funny Story" is kind of a good movie.
The story revolves around a clinically depressed teenager that checks himself into an adult psychiatric ward. Craig (Keir Gilchrist) attempts to win the heart of his best friend's girlfriend (Zoë Kravitz) while also falling for a girl in the psychiatric ward, Noelle (Emma Roberts). In the ward, he meets and befriends another older patient Bobby (Zach Galifianakis) who helps Craig figure out what he wants to do in life.
"It's Kind of a Funny Story" was written and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (Half Nelson, Sugar), and with this film they have entered the mainstream for better or worse. Their previous films were smaller character pieces without big name stars, but with this film, they paint with broader strokes and the movie suffers a bit because of this.
The film struggles with what direction it wants to pursue -- full comedy or full drama -- and instead falls short of being a significant entry in either. Character development throughout the movie is also extremely stunted, specifically with Zach Galifianakis' character. He seemed on the cusp of making a real statement about family and mental illness, but his story instead resolves with just a gift and a smile. Emma Roberts' character also isn't given much time to establish herself.
With all that said, the movie does manage to pull off some good comedic moments, mostly with the help of Galifianakis. The dramatic moments aren't as well executed as the comedy, but Galifianakis shows some surprising acting range in these moments.
The film doesn't aim to be a serious drama looking at the inner workings of psychiatric wards or what happens to these people when they are put into them. No, this film could rather be looked at as "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest" for the teenage generation. It tries to be that movie for this generation, but only half achieves its goal.