Craig, played by Keor Gilchrist, is facing a lot of stress in his sixteenth year on this planet and he becomes convinced that he wants to kill himself and checks himself into a psych ward. During his mandatory 5 day trial stay he undergoes a less-than common journey of self-discovery with the aid of his fellow patients.
What could have easily been a very contrived teen comedy turns out to be a refreshing coming-of-age tale that does not need to pander to the audience with an over-abundance of lowbrow humour and/or romance drama. Mind you, it is not that this film is lacking in either of those departments completely as we do get a couple naughty jokes snuck in, and our protagonist does find himself in a “girl trouble” dilemma that motivated his self-institutionalizing. Thankfully the focus continuously draws back to Craig and his attempts to heal, making him the ever present nucleus of the film for interesting character subplots to float around him.
Of the supporting cast, Zach Galifianakis gets the most time and attention as he acts as both mentor and example of how not to be for Craig. Galifianakis is alloted many opportunities to demonstrate his famous juggling of deadpan humour, wackiness, and utterly dramatic emotional displays. He truly becomes more actor than comic in this performance.
The film makes frequent trips into Craig’s imagination, a tactic that only helps to maintain interest in the story without simply being exciting visuals for th sake of exciting visuals. Being in a psych ward is a very serious thing, but this film consciously tells us that this particular story that this one is only going to get so heavy…I mean, just look at the title and you’ll know exactly how it means to approach the very serious subject of attempted suicide, but without avoiding or deflating how truly significant that issue is.
Widescreen 1.85. This film has a surprising amount of visually dynamic sequences, most all concerning scenes I alluded to before where we get a glimpse into Craig’s imagination. The animation is clean, the portions with vibrant colours are lush, and everything looks dandy all around.
Dolby Digital 5.1 is available in English, Spanish and French. All of the sounds are clear but there is a massive imbalance between dialogue and music. When things seem low-key and quaint a song will come in with the force of a concert film, forcing you to hastily adjust the volume nob if you have neighbours in earshot.
Subtitles available in English, French and Spanish.
Deleted Scenes: These are just as enjoyable as moments from the actual film. Some even add some emotional dimensions to the film if factored into the canon, while others seem to be tonal repeats that were cut for redundancy reasons.
Outtakes: A continuous series of gut chuckles courtesy of the improv antics of the supporting cast as they crack up lead actor Kier Gilchrist.
A Look Inside: What could have been an interesting behind-the-scenes featurette is nothing more than an extended promo, like you might catch at theater BEFORE the trailers run.
Premiere in New York City: Another fluffy promo that offers little more than self-praise from the cast and crew.
A delightful surprise of a film for those that can accept a very serious topic being handled with humour on top of sensitivity. Both comic and humane, this film is worthwhile for at least a rental.