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September 9, 2011
It's Kind of a Funny Story Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
8/10/2010 (USA)16/8/2011UniversalAnna Boden
Ryan Fleck
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
VC-1DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1MKeir Gilchrist

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Having a chat in the mental health clinic.

It's Kind of a Funny Story isn't a movie we'd heard about prior to receiving the disc for review. No surprise either as the film never hit cinemas in Australia as far as we can tell. With a subject matter not typically one we'd jump to check out, in the end this what I'd describe as a "nice" film that some may enjoy more then we did, but isn't likely to offend or disappoint anyone either.

Adapted from Ned Vizzini’s 2006 novel, It's Kind of a Funny Story tells the story of burnt-out teenager Craig (Keir Gilchrist), who checks himself into a mental health clinic citing exhaustion, and finds himself placed in the adult ward due to the fact that the youth ward has been shut down. Taken under the wing of fellow patient Bobby (Zach Galifianakis), the stressed-out 16-year-old attempts to endure his mandatory five days' stay without completely losing his mind. His predicament is made somewhat more tolerable by the presence of Noelle (Emma Roberts), another teenage patient who's struggling to sort out her thoughts.

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Keir Gilchrist is pretty good as Craig.

Films set within the mental/psych wards at hospitals aren't new, but this one is handled quite well indeed while avoiding all the cliché’s one would expect within such a film. The cast is generally very impressive and despite being confined within the insides of a hospital there's enough here to keep you interested in the characters including Craig who is played impressively by Keir Gilchrist. While the movie is a little pedestrian at times, by the final moments you will have an emotional attachment to those in the hospital. Emma Roberts too puts in a fine performance.

Probably the most impressive aspect of this movie is the performance of Zach Galifianakis as Bobby. He's certainly a very likable character and you really sympathize with him along his journey. While we've seen Zach in several movies, not least of which his comedic role in The Hangover films, this is a more dramatic turn that will do his acting career no harm at all.

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Emma Roberts puts in a fine performance.
Still, there are some stupid elements to this film that annoyed not least of which is the way in which the patients in the mental ward can seemingly walk in and out of the ward at will - that certainly isn't the case in the hospitals I've been to. Also, the patients never get caught, and certainly in a hospital such as that there would be regular checks by staff to ensure everyone is still safe.

Universal have encoded It's Kind of a Funny Story at the film’s original 1.85:1 aspect ratio using the VC-1 codec. Being released in cinemas within the last year the print is fairly well pristine with no dirt or scratches while the transfer is free of any compression artifacts. Despite the fact that this film takes place indoors for the most part the image looks impressive, with solid colours, plenty of fine detail, and decent contrast levels.

On a technical level this Blu-Ray does everything as expected with an impressive lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which keeps the dialogue clear at all times. Music is somewhat limited but when it kicks in on occasion it gets the job done. The transfer includes occasional use of the surround sound channels, but this is primarily a front-heavy release.

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Getting frisky in hospital.
The only other audio tracks on this disc include French, Italian, German and Spanish DTS 5.1 tracks encoded at 768kbps, We sampled these tracks only briefly and don't think anyone would be disappointed with the required language. Subtitles are provided in many more languages including English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Dutch, Chinese, Danish, Finnish, Korean, Swedish, Icelandic, Norwegian, and Portuguese. Sampling the English track demonstrated accuracy to the on-screen dialogue.

There are a few extra features on this disc which include the following...

Deleted Scenes (8:54/HD): Five deleted scenes are presented here in fairly high quality. These scenes include "Suicide Hotline", "Just Hang In There", "See You Tonight", "Yoga", and "What About Now?" and include some nice moments.

Outtakes(11:26/HD): Typically outtakes will be a couple of minutes of low-quality fooling around on-set. Here we have over 11 minutes of footage, presented in HD, with some pretty amusing moments, many of which are from Zack.

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Zach Galifianakis is a highlight as Bobby in It's Kind of a Funny Story.
A Look Inside It's Kind of a Funny Story (2:03/HD): A short, pointless EPK styled featurette which does nothing but sell the story.

It's Kind Of A Funny Story Premiere in New York City (2:32/HD): A short, pointless clip from the Red Carpet Premiere in New York.

It's Kind of a Funny Story is a "nice" film that never does too much to keep you overly entertained, but never does to little to make you want to switch off. The transfer is nice enough so if you want to check out this film go for the Blu-Ray version over the DVD.

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyright© Universal. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.