This self-conscious, somewhat affecting dramedy doesn't feel as committed to its audience as it intends to be.
It's Kind of a Funny Story stars Keir Gilchrist, Zach Galifianakis, Emma Roberts, Noe Kravitz, and Viola Davis.
Some may find this adaptation of a 2006 semi-autobiographical novel by Ned Vizzini a more teen-friendly version of films like One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest or Girl Interrupted. Set mainly in a Brooklyn adult psych ward, it may resemble the Sandra Bullock feature 28 Days a little more from the vantage point of Gilchrist's troubled, possibly suicidal Craig.
When calling a hotline Craig's told to head for the hospital and is admitted as a patient, but not on the youth floor temporarily shut down for remodeling. In little time there's an odd sagely presence in the form of Galifianakis's contemplative Bobby. A self-mutilating young woman, Noelle, sensitively endowed by Roberts, is someone Craig begins to care about.
Helming and writing partners Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden don't have the same touch they did in baseball and education milieus in earlier, wider-reaching endeavors like Sugar and Half-Nelson. It's unable to go away from a result more typical of less modesty-scaled fare even with cutaways and flash backing into Craig's past (like dealing with feelings for a girl played by Kravitz), as well as goofiness from lesser characters and in a glam-rock interlude in the second half of the picture.
A much-in-demand Galifianakis (Dinner For Schmucks) is the one who responds best to the analogized aura done to casual, prosaic effect as Bobby may have well been the right character for the film to have been structured around. How Bobby enters, interacts and finally exits through a certain askew self-examination tries to tilt what often seems lackadaisical and languid.
It's titular description may be a little off the beaten path for those more of the mainstream, but the proceedings aren't handled or rendered with the kind of positiveness that provides oddly moving entertainment. Perhaps the main reason being relative newcomer Gilchrist not able to create a more charismatic figure overburdened with an existence life that may seem like a way to cut class for a few days to make the personal wounds go away quicker than they really do. It doesn't help that the talents of Davis as staff psychiatrist Dr. Minerva, as well as those like Lauren Graham and Jim Gaffigan go mostly unnoticed in mostly first-person observation that gives this kind of story a not so funny name.