11 November 2010

10 Nov - "It smells like a hobo's band-aid"

It's Kind of a Funny Story (2010)

dir. Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck

Keir Gilchrist (Saint Ralph, 2004)
Emma Roberts (Nancy Drew, 2007)
Lauren Graham (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (voice), 2009)
Jim Gaffigan (Super Troopers, 2001)
Zach Galifinakis (The Hangover, 2009)
Asif Mandvi (The Last Airbender, 2010)
Jeremy Davies (Lost (TV), 2008-2010)
Mary Birdsong (Adventureland, 2009)
Zoe Kravitz (No Reservations, 2007)
Viola Davis (Eat Pray Love, 2010)
Novella Nelson

As my partner in crime pointed out, It's Kind of a Funny Story has a really shitty title. It doesn't sound kind of funny at all. In fact, it sounds saccharine, like something that should be on the Hallmark channel. Possibly about Santa Claus. Nevertheless, wrapped in this ditsy package with those faces smiling banally at each other is a pretty damn amusing movie which has a lovely moral about how them teenagers are too damn stressed out.

The main character seems to figure out the insignificance of his own problems almost immediately, so there isn't too much whining. Emma Roberts, who plays the self-destructive love interest, also spares us any angst (yeah I got's scratches on my face- what of it?) There's a scene where everyone goes all glam rock and she still has the scratches, but they're made of glitter, I thought that was clever.

If I had to complain about something (which I do, evidently) it would be the inconsistencies in the script. Not unlike Kamikaze Girls (which I'm still talking about because I enjoyed it THIS much), this movie played around with some stylistic interruptions, some fantasy elements (Like the glam-rock scene and a part where everything goes all cartoony when Our Hero (sometimes I can't remember their names) discovers he is good at arts (bye-bye business school summer program). These bits were cute and I approve of their inclusion, especially the part where Our Hero returns to his five year old self to have a conversation with his mom, where I think Lauren Graham really stood out in a way that many of her roles fail to give her the opportunity to do (does that make sense?).

However, these bits were few and far between, and I think they could have been integrated better so that I could accept them as part of the story-world and not awkward interjections into a narrative. The other problem was a sort of manic-depressive flip flop between parts that were really funny and parts that were really sad. I guess that's the nature of the beast when you're talking about stuff like depression and homelessness and mental illness, but I feel like I've seen it handled better before, just because the extremes were so stark: this is something you're definitely supposed to find funny, now stop because here's something overtly sad.

I used to volunteer at a group home for schizophrenics and I would sometimes have to bite my tongue to keep from laughing at something. There's this terribly awkward feeling you can get when something is wrong and sad but undeniably weird and ludicrous. In this movie the distinctions were very clear. There weren't any in-between places where you had to wonder whether it was funny OR sad or feel bad about laughing. I guess they were playing it safe like that. Making sure no one left confused.

Anyway, I liked it a lot so you should all watch it too and see if you agree.


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  4. Hey Rod! Did you know that when you post a comment, it gets directed to my email account? Even if you delete it right away?

    You should probably proofread before you hit that 'post' button

    Thanks for reading my blog!

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