It's Kind of a Funny Story
By S. Jhoanna Robledo,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Coming-of-age dramedy explores teen pressures, angst.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The biggest message here is to choose life. Shape it, embrace it, make the most of it. Characters also learn that support and encouragement can come from the unlikeliest places, and you may be surprised at the joy of how accepting help feels.
Positive Role Models
Teenage Craig is overwhelmed (by school, girls, friends, life) and, at the start of the film, suicidal. But somehow he finds a way to shift his focus from the expectations that he feels he can't meet to ones that he'd actually like so that he has a life he enjoys. Bobby seems like a mess, despite the fact that he's about to transition into a group home. But he's empathetic and caring enough to take Craig under his wing.
Violence & Scariness
A teen's imagined suicide is shown. Two patients bicker somewhat menacingly at breakfast. Another patient discusses cutting herself. A couple argues loudly in front of their child. A man has an angry outburst, yelling and throwing things on the floor/around a room.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
A character ogles a classmate's chest. Later, she straddles him on a bed as they make out. A teenage boy and girl hold hands and kiss. Another couple kisses. Talk of teen characters having had sex. Patients discuss womanizing/success with the ladies. A fantasy sequence includes a character surrounded by beautiful women as "arm candy"; in another, the main character imagines his crush in the bath (shoulders/legs shown). A joke plays on multiple meanings for the word "beavers."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Language includes "s--t," "crap," "laid," "d--k," "ass," "screw," "balls," "crap," "oh my God," "bulls--t," and (once) "f--k." A character gives the finger to someone else.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
MTV, Mac, Gucci, Werther's, and Reese's are mentioned, as are prescription drugs like Zoloft and Atavan.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some talk about using Vicodin. Patients pop their pills. A teen talks about taking prescription Zoloft but goes off it without telling his doctor. A fantasy sequence includes characters holding cocktails. References to a character having done 100 tabs of acid. One character bribes a hospital janitor with pills. Jokes about getting high.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this irreverent dramedy based on writer Neil Vizzini's young adult novel It's Kind of a Funny Story -- which co-stars offbeat comedian Zach Galifianakis and former tween star Emma Roberts -- will likely appeal to teens thanks to its relatable take on how overwhelming life and expectations can be when you're in high school. Its mix of teen angst (the main character begins the movie feeling suicidal) and mental hospital drama and hijinks includes some salty language (including "s--t"), discussions about serious issues like suicide, and unsettling situations. There's also some kissing and making out and other references to sex.
To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Where to Watch
Videos and Photos
It's Kind of a Funny Story
Based on 6 parent reviews
It’s Kind Of A Funny Story (2010) is its kind of a sensible and sensitive story
Report this review
It's kind of a boring story...
Report this review
What's the Story?
Sixteen-year-old Craig (Keir Gilchrist) has been thinking about suicide -- how to do it, where to do it. Life has become too overwhelming for him: The kids at his specialized high school are hypercompetitive and overachieving, his father is pressuring him to apply for a summer program that will look good on his college applications, and he can't stop thinking about his best friend's girlfriend (Zoe Kravitz). Worried that he'll actually follow his plan to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge through, Craig checks into a mental hospital. Since the teen ward is under repair, he's left to mingle with the grown-ups until the doctors figure out the best course of action. There, Craig meets Bobby (Zach Galifianakis), the leader of the pack, who helps Craig settle in while he prepares for his own impending release, and Noelle (Emma Roberts), another teen with whom Craig immediately feels a kinship.
Is It Any Good?
There's so much to relish in this coming-of-age dramedy based on the same-named novel by Ned Vizzini. There's the story, which is rich and witty and confidently told. There's Gilchrist, who's both vulnerable enough and bold enough for the role. (A curious mix, but he has it, and it works.) And then there's Galifianakis, who proves that he's got a much wider range than his previous outings, mostly comedies, have revealed. He can be broken and funny at the same time. (Another curious mix.)
But the film is maddening, too. It bends to an inclination long seen in movies to paint mental hospitals (and their patients) as a wonderland of sorts, with eccentric patients able to crack wise given the opportunity and equally eccentric teachers and volunteers guiding their way. (It's either that scenario or One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest...) Is there really nothing in between? Aren't there people with heavy-duty problems who don't speak like stand-up comics and cheerleaders? Still, that's a forgivable offense, given how much empathy exists in IT'S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY. It delivers with fascinating detours into the mind of a teenager living in a world defined by accomplishments (with a capital A), when, really, it's accomplishment enough to be able to live a little, laugh a little, and embrace the flawed nature of humanity.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the pressures that Craig faces in the movie. Are real-life teens as stressed out as that? Why? What are some ways to cope with the pressures of family, school, friendship, and dating?
Is there a stigma against admitting that you're depressed? Is it worse among teenagers? Why?
What is the movie saying about life as a teen in today's world? Do you agree?
- In theaters: October 8, 2010
- On DVD or streaming: February 8, 2011
- Cast: Emma Roberts, Keir Gilchrist, Zach Galifianakis
- Director: Ryan Fleck
- Studio: Focus Features
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 101 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: thematic issues, sexual content, drug material and language
- Last updated: December 7, 2022
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Watch
Our Editors Recommend
Mockumentaries for Teens
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate