Review: FUNNY STORY Is More Than An Anecdote

FIRST IMPRESSION

Funny Story is an entertaining and meaningful dramedy, driven by an interesting story and two great lead performances.
Writing
Directing
Acting
Technical Merit

Funny Story is a new dramedy film co-written and directed by Michael J. Gallagher. The movie tells the story of a father who sets out on a weekend trip to reconnect with his estranged daughter only to make mistakes along the way that threaten to wreak havoc on both of their lives. It debuted at the 2018 Slamdance Film Festival.

The film’s story is comprised of a few different arcs, combined effectively into a whole that is cohesive and satisfying. There are elements of a road movie, a fish-out-of-water comedy, and a mid-life crisis movie, and somehow, all of those subplots feel well-balanced and developed enough to be meaningful.

One big reason why the film works so well is that the characters are written quite effectively. Although the protagonist, Walter, makes plenty of mistakes over the course of the movie, he has a sense of sincerity about him that is welcome and makes him likable despite (or perhaps because of) his flaws. Kim is a much more complex character, and although her arc is relatively predictable, it is compelling nonetheless.

The themes in the film are very interesting too. Ultimately, the movie’s main message is one of inclusivity. The film encourages accepting people no matter what, regardless of their identity or mistakes they may have made in the past. The methods that the movie uses to get to this can be excessive at times, but the film definitely means well.

Furthermore, the movie is very enjoyable to watch as a whole. There are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments and a ton of moments that are heartfelt and endearing. The runtime of the film is under an hour and a half, and it absolutely breezes by because of the script’s rapid pacing and quick sense of humor.

The actors all do a very good job in their roles. Matthew Glave gives a great lead performance with a ton of nuance. He is able to deliver the comedic lines quite well, but he also has the range to pull off the more emotionally-driven moments. Emily Bett Rickards complements him well in her supporting role. They have great comedic chemistry together and really nail that awkwardness that exists between the characters.

The movie was also quite strong on a technical level. A good comedy film has rhythm, and this movie is a prime example of what rhythm can do to make a laugh. The editing in the film is great, taking advantage of the comedic timing of the cast to elicit laughs. The opening scene, a a conversation in a restaurant, is particularly memorable and well-done.

Overall, Funny Story was a very impressive comedy. You will likely be laughing constantly, but there are still plenty of emotional moments that allow the talented actors and actresses in the cast to shine. Check this one out if you get the chance!

Funny Story is now in theaters and on VOD.

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Sean Boelman
Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.

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