Starring Keir Gilchrist, Emma Roberts and Zach Galifianakis

Written and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck

MPAA Rating PG-13

Running time 91 min

Selig Film Rating FULL PRICE

Comedy films that take place in a mental institution almost never work. Where you get one great film like One Flew Over the Cuckoos' Nest, there are a monumental group of failures. All the ironic touches almost never translate on the big screen. This is another reason to see the refreshing little flick Its a Funny Kind of Story.

The film follows Craig (Keir Gilchrist) a confused young man with thoughts of suicide. After deciding not to throw himself off an overpass and into oncoming traffic, he checks himself into the local mental facility. Due to construction, both the teens and the adults are forced into the same floors.

Very soon Craig discovers that being locked up is a bad idea but the staff wants him to stay for five days for observation. The culture shock of being around the truly crazy people is what drives Its a Funny Kind of Story.

Almost immediately Craig befriends Bobby (Zach Galifianakis) a man who has been having trouble coping with the outside world. He is coming up on the end of his stay and must find a halfway house to accept him. A frail and frazzled soul, he instantly bonds with our young protagonist. Bobby has been in the facility so long that he basically runs the place. He knows which floor has the best coffee and how to get out to get ice cream.

He also meets Noelle (Emma Roberts) a confused young woman with scratches on her face and cuts on her wrists, sporting a 'I hate boys' T-shirt. There is something about her smile and attitude that draws Craig to her. The two meet in the hallways and in the crafts classes where Craig shows some serious skills in drawing.

Soon we discover the twin demons of Craig. He has an artistic soul and is being pushed by his father to become a business success. Craig also has a problem with wanting to be with his best friend's girlfriend. Its a Funny Kind of Story is about how Bobby and Noelle make Craig confront the torments of his life. It is also about how Bobby and Noelle have to confront the forces that drive them.

Zach Galifianakis is slowly becoming the go-to guy for small, funny roles. He follows people like Dana Carvey and Jack Black, thespians who can take a minor role and turn it into major cinema gold. One has no idea if he can carry a major starring role, but he just brings on serious laughs in the second banana roles.

Young Emma Roberts has the same magic her Aunt Julia Roberts brings to the Silver Screen. This is another cliche role, that on the young confused woman, but she gives the reading a freshness. She has that spark that brings one in to the performance, that elusive bit that they call movie magic.

Keir Gilchrist is just weak as Craig, As the lead, he never finds the true beat of his character. He just reacts to every situation and never finds any momentum to drive along. His character is supposed to be a shy and reserved individual but it feels like he is never giving it his all.

Writer/directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck have a great feel for the story of Its a Funny Kind of Story. They find the right beats with all the supporting cast members, giving just about every person in the play a moment or two to land a comic line. The laughs are never at the expense of the patients, just of the situation. They do show restraint on the plight of the people trapped in this world.

Its a Funny Kind of Story is a very enjoyable film and a possible nomination for Zach Galifianakis, a guy who just delivers this Supporting Actor caliber performance. In a cinematic world where special effects trump emotions, this is a refreshing breath of air.



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