This is one of those “serious” comedies, an ensemble piece with Zach Galifianakis (after the remarkable success of THE HANGOVER) set in the mental health ward of a hospital.

Craig (Keir Gilchrist) is a sixteen year old who’s strung way too tight, checking himself into the ward after feeling suicidal. While his feelings of ennui are more theatrical than actual, he’s nonetheless exposed to a different way of being from those he’s now forced to cohabitate with.

The film is a bittersweet comedy, with the genuine struggles of those that are really “supposed” to be there to deal with their issues played out in ways that aren’t exactly revelatory, but nonetheless are effective. Zach G really is terrific in riding the balance between pathos and snark, and his is perhaps the “meatiest” of any of the roles.

Unfortunately, it’s a bit too contrived to be really effective, a good idea not particularly well executed on the whole. A generation ago this would have been prime Robin Williams territory, even perhaps Oscar bait, but the film (or hopefully the audience) isn’t falling in quite the same way for this type of shtick. It’s sweetness and quiet humour keeps it from being a bore, but it doesn’t get elevated much above that average level. IT’S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY is only kind of a funny film, and that about it.