Comments on watching and making films.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

It's Kind Of A Funny Story

As you get older, it often times gets harder to take movies about kids who blow out of proportion their problems as teens or young adults. Maybe it's that you're older and don't care, maybe it's that you understand that the world doesn't end tomorrow, or, maybe, it's just a case of the old "Been there, done that, people have bigger problems than you, get over it" syndrome.

Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden (the directing team responsible for the fantastic films Half Nelson and Sugar) bring to life the story of Craig (Keir Gilchrist), a teen on the cusp of graduating from a fairly prominent New York City school, and having a breakdown because of the pressure being put on him by parents who want him to succeed, schools that want massive amounts of his time and energy for their rigorous admissions process, and trying to keep his secret crush on his best friends girlfriend a secret, among other things. Craig decides to check himself into a mental hospital, assuming he will be there for a few hours and they will give him some medications. Instead, he's admitted for a one week mandatory stay. In the hospital, he meets various characters, most importantly Bobby (played by Zach Galifianakis) who becomes somewhat of a mentor to Craig. During his time at the hospital, Craig learns from the traps that the other patients are snared in, to be himself and have confidence and courage, and to not be afraid of failure.

This film was funny, and, at times, endearing, although some things seemed a little contrived. A lot of things seemed to work out for a lot of people by the end, and I get that this is supposed to be a comedy and a fun time, and I support that, but at the same time, I feel like reality, which has always been such a high priority for Boden and Fleck, seems to be brushed to the side in favor of an "Everything is going to work out" message. Boden and Fleck do a great job of making you feel better about yourself by the time the film is over, but I also left feeling a little off because it felt like the kind of thing that Hollywood had managed to get their paws into and sink something that, probably, could have been a lot better. I don't know, though, it may have been all Fleck and Boden. Gilchrist does a fantastic job at hitting the notes of a kid with 0% confidence or courage, and Galifianakis is always fantastic. The supporting cast was pretty amazing, especially Adrian Martinez, who's straight delivery of some of the films funniest lines was spot on.

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