The drama in “It’s Kind Of A Funny Story” deals with Craig, a teenager, who suffers from deppression, insecurity and pressure, like most teenagers. He dreams of suicide, through jumping on a bridge, but somehow finds the courage to call help and checks himself in a hospital for further medication.
So what’s funny in the story?
To tell you upfront this is not a funny film comparable to “Hangover” or “Wild Child”. But it is funny enough to make your heart smile and your eyes sparkle. My theory of why they call it a “funny story” is the concept of you first think of yourself as worthless, then later you think yourself as genuine, like you have a function on this greater and bigger system we live. The idea is dull but to some degree, it’s actually funny. The moment you realize it’s all there in you, sleeping, you just have to wake up at the right time and the right place. By that, I’m talking about our main character, Craig, who feels he is talentless but later finds out he has a talent in drawing, who feels he is inspireless but later inspires everyone else.
Is suicide the main theme?
Although his suicidal thoughts is the reason in the first place that moves the story, this idea, as the film progresses, is negligible. (But maybe I have to rethink about that because all of the patients in the hospital are, one way or the other, brought by suicide attempts.) The story deviates from its premise in the first encounter where Craig meets Bobby, a frustrated father, by then the story talks about friendship. There’s also a time when Craig meets Noelle, a lovely lady who is about the same age as Craig, by then the story talks about infatuation. You might think there’s a danger of the film playing many concept at one but surprisingly the film delivers it well.
It’s tiring seeing films with extreme conflicts, the one that talks about life and death or love and hatred or travel throughout world. Perhaps, you might opt to see real mundane things happening to a person, without the aid of superficial conflicts. I might contradict my point since it isn’t normal to be in a hospital ward because of suicide attempt but then again this isn’t about suicide. The film also plays metaphors. Upon staying in the hospital, Craig shares a room with Muqtada, an egyptian who secludes himself from the world and spends all his time in bed, but he is not bedridden. I could easily see him as a friend who can’t find any place in this world and thus makes his own world. He is pitiable and is need of help, by then the story talks about service.
So how was Emma Roberts?
Emma Roberts, as Noelle, has a mild role. It’s logical to the part she plays. Noelle is just another plot device to realize how genuine Craig is. Zach Galifianakis, the founder of Hangover’s wolf pack and one of the main reason why Hangover received a sequel, is still amusing as he plays Bobby. When Bobby asks what Craig thinks of why he is in the hospital, Craig says “I heard you tried to rape a penguin at the zoo.” Bobby is alarmed and retorts, “Who told you that?” That line made me squeaked. That was priceless.
It’s really amazing how actors can adapt different character stories and still manages to convince us that it is their personal life.You may think that Emma Roberts always plays a warm character. But if you happen to see “Lymelife”, you can see Emma in a seductive role, though not in anyway fetish. There was scene where Emma flaunts her chest and teases her partner. I can never forget that. That made me think that actors do illuminate magic.
In essence, the film is dramatic but the narrative is funny. The film is no puzzling code. You can take it at face value and still get that same mild experience. But sometimes if we dig deep, we feel deep. (But if we dig deeper, we drown. Kay?)