It's Kind Of A Funny Story

It's Kind Of A Funny Story (2010)
Universal Home Video
Cast: Zach Galifianakis, Keir Gilchrist, Emma Roberts
Extras: Gag Reel, Deleted Scenes, Featurettes

Craig Gilner (Keir Gilchrist) has problems. He wants to kill himself because it is difficult to balance educational pressures, girl problems, and a family that he doesn't seem to connect well with. Craig takes matters into his own hands my going to the emergency room to seek help. After begging for assistance from the doctor (Aasif Mandvi), Craig is voluntarily committed for observation. It is here where he connects with Bobby (Zach Galifianakis) and Noelle (Emma Roberts) catches his eye. With the support of his fragile mother (Lauren Graham) and his detached father (Jim Gaffigan), Craig finds the road to recovery to be a very interesting five days.

"It's Kind Of A Funny Story" has been on my radar for some time now. After seeing Zach Galifianakis break out a surprisingly emotional and touching scene in "Due Date", I was curious how far he could take it. This was my opportunity to see if the funny man has the potential for a Jim Carrey-esque path of comedy and drama. Zach didn't disappoint. He has a natural ability to fit in, regardless of the situation. Though he is a bit older than co-stars Keir Gilchrist and Emma Roberts, things never feel off. The role of Bobby showcases the best in Galifianakis by allowing him to have quirks while being a very down to earth character. The guy can make anyone laugh, but with the ability to step in and out of dramatic roles with such ease, Galifianakis is really setting himself up for a successful career.

As for the rest of the film, I was disappointed. It never commits to enough humor to be a comedy or enough substance to be a drama. It is caught in some odd purgatory that left me feeling a bit blah about the final result. Perhaps it was my lofty expectations that hindered my experience, but throughout the film I just thought of similar titles that have covered this ground and done a much better job with the material. Even with Jeremy Davies, the staff has none of the personality that made Nurse Ratched so memorable in "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest". The depth found in "Girl, Interrupted" is toned down to a point where patients here are more humorous than troubled. I understand Writer/Director's Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden didn't want the intensity of the aforementioned titles, but "It's Kind Of A Funny Story" is also missing the quirk of a Wes Anderson flick or the satire of an Alexander Payne movie. This film is caught between those extremes, which is frustrating. I wanted to laugh more or to have more emotional attachment to the characters. At the end of the day I got a little bit of each side, but not enough of either.

Universal is known for great discs and the 1.85:1, 1080p transfer on "It's Kind Of A Funny Story" holds up well. The film is loaded with very calm, neutral colors which may trick the mind into thinking the transfer is soft. This isn't the case. There is an exceptional level of detail on close-ups and the fleshtones are amazingly accurate. There aren't a lot of opportunities for the picture to really pop, but overall the presentation couldn't look much better than this Blu-ray.

Being a drama/comedy TRYbrid, a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix isn't going to flex very much. Dialogue levels are naturally balanced in the front field on this dialogue heavy film. The film really pops on all levels during fantasy scenes and musical moments like when "Under Pressure" is played. At this point the entire sound field will be in effect, giving the film a bit of depth typically reserved for action films. It is a good mix.

Looking at the back cover, it seems like "It's Kind Of A Funny Story" comes with a decent amount of extra features. In digging deeper, those extras are quite thin. When the featurette "A Look Inside It's Kind Of A Funny Story" (3:16) is shorter than the "Gag Reel" (11:28) , it's kind of a sad story. I am always a fan of gag reels and this one doesn't disappoint. In addition to some Zach Galifianakis impromptu lines, we are treated to some projectile vomit. As for the featurette, it is the typical piece that one may see before a theatrical feature between commercials and movie trivia cards. There are five "Deleted Scenes" (8:54) which cover a surprising amount of ground. Each of the scenes are from different parts of the movie and differ in tone quite a bit. "It's Kind Of A Funny Story Premiere In New York City" (2:32) is more polished than I expected. It plays more as a feature with interviews from the cast and crew as they arrive for the film. Everyone really seems to like and admire Zach Galifianakis since they talk about him more than the actual film. All of the features are presented in high definition. The Blu-ray live feature will ensure that there is always a fresh trailer loading up before the menu.

I feel like delivering the stereotypical break-up line, "It's not you, it's me" when talking about "It's Kind Of A Funny Story". I really, REALLY wanted to like it, but with so many movies under my belt this one felt very 'middle of the road'. The one huge plus is Zach Galifianakis. He continues to shine in each role given and does well as Bobby. The audio and video presentations on this release are both very good, but the extra features are a bit lacking. Watch the gag reel for some great laughs. Given the cost is still a bit steep for the Blu-ray, I would say rent "It's Kind Of A Funny Story" and go from there. It may suit your tastes just fine.