The main reason I rented It’s Kind of a Funny Story is because Zach Galifianakis is in it. And, his performance is the main reason I ended up liking the film.
He plays a patient in a mental hospital where one day a 16-year-old named Craig (Keir Gilchrist) checks himself in because he thinks he’s depressed. Galifianakis, playing Robby, does have somewhat of a comedic aim at his character, but it’s definitely toned down from The Hangover or his stand-up routines. Robby befriends Craig, soon to be known as “Cool Craig,” and in a week in the hospital they both figure out their path in life and how to deal with the struggle of complicated families and factors that brought them to check in in the first place. Craig, I think, is partially dealing with teenage strife and needed the time in the hospital to figure out the source of his angst. At first I thought his situation trivialized what the other patients experienced and struggled with, but in the end it actually defined it more and brought me to a level of understanding. It’s Kind of a Funny story is based on a novel, and I think the film’s one downfall is not being able to fill in the blanks and provide more context to the character’s lives.
I’ll read the book someday, and recall how Galifianakis shined with his subdued humor while keeping the serious side to Robby’s character in check. As long as there is some light-heartedness to it, I think Galifianakis could do similar films after this performance.
On a side note, I also recently watched him in Due Date. The plot didn’t interest me so much, but it was actually a better-than-expected kind of “buddy comedy” with Galifianakis delivering a good number of the punch lines.
Obviously I’m signed up to see his return as Alan in Hangover II, but the next two projects on Galifianakis’ list have me in a full Zach Attack.
First, there is The Muppets, and the current filming of Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie with Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly. Yeah, that’s going to be amazing.