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Betsy Sharkey's film pick of the week: 'It's Kind of a Funny Story'

November 10, 2010 |  4:30 pm

IT's Kind of a Funny Story

Don’t write off “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” as just another teen coming-of-age comedy. Filmmakers Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, whose past work includes the emotionally gripping “Half Nelson” with Ryan Gosling, are exploring their lighter side here, but it’s bittersweet and just as smart in ways that should appeal to teens and adults. The central issues are stress, depression and self-esteem. Sound familiar?

Based on Ned Vizzini's popular youth novel, the film is set in an adult psych ward where a suicidal 16-year-old named Craig (a very appealing Keir Gilchrist), has been sent for evaluation. The doctors are nice, but it's the eclectic patients that make spending a few days there –- for us and for Craig -– worth  the time.

Best is Zach Galifianakis as Bobby, who is crazy to be sure, but in an ancient guru sort of way. Emma Roberts turns up as a possible love interest for Craig, and theirs is a sweet romance of the sort that rarely makes it into teen films these days.

Teenagers with grown up problems, grown-ups with universal problems, funny serious, seriously funny and so much cheaper than therapy -- it's kind of worth it.

-- Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times film critic

Photo: Zach Galifianakis and Keir Gilchrist in "It's Kind of a Funny Story." Credit: K.C. Bailey/Focus Features

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