Starring: Keir Gilchrist, Emma Roberts, Zach Galifianakis
Director: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
Running Time: 101 mins
It’s Kind Of A Funny Story is an American film about a suicidal teenager who checks himself in to a psychiatric ward, where he begins to regain a love for life.
One of those offbeat comedy-dramas that puts its quirkiness front and centre, you’d be forgiven for seeing It’s Kind Of A Funny Story as a rather generic and superficial film. However, while it’s not necessarily a masterpiece, there is some rather genuine drama at play here, and it’s just enough to make you smile.
Let’s start by looking at how It’s Kind Of A Funny Story sits among its peers in the coming-of-age genre. With a few more darkly comic sensibilities, it’s a little reminiscent of films like Submarine, though its main dramatic focus puts it firmly in the same ballpark as the likes of The Perks Of Being A Wallflower.
These are fairly inexact comparisons, because It’s Kind Of A Funny Story sits finely on the line between comedy and drama, using both genres to good effect and to a fault throughout. On the one hand, it’s a fairly enjoyable film with some heartfelt moments. On the other, it undermines what could be an emotionally arresting story with its propensity for offbeat humour.
And that circles back round to what I started with. It’s Kind Of A Funny Story is an offbeat, quirky movie, but it’s not one that’s likably so. The best moments do tap into the beauty of living life to the full, no matter how much of an ‘oddball’ you may be, but it’s something that only comes after a little too much reliance on cheaper comedy at the expense of those very oddballs.
So, while the emotion at the heart of the film is certainly genuine, the film isn’t quite as lovably quirky as it wants to be. And despite decent performances from the likes of Keir Gilchrist and Emma Roberts in the lead roles, there’s nothing immensely endearing about the film from start to finish.
That’s where it falls down in comparison to films like The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, which takes a little more time to delve into the deeper emotions of each of its characters, and only then starts to foster offbeat, quirky humour on the back of that.
It’s Kind Of A Funny Story isn’t a terrible film by any means, and it’s perfectly enjoyable if you’re looking for something offbeat, but it’s just not the best execution of what is certainly a story full of the right ingredients. This film could have been both funnier, more charming and more emotional, even if it does manage to deliver on those fronts to a limited extent. So, that’s why I’m giving it a 7.2 overall.