It's Kind of a Funny Story is continually thwarted by what it wants to be. It wants to be cool, quirky, hip, and exceedingly indie.
The script, or at least the dialog, could have made for a decent comedy. I laughed. In fact, I laughed quite a bit. Keir Gilchrist is a good straight man to Zach Galifianakis, and still manages to conjure up some laughs of his own. However, in the many places where I should have laughed harder, the thing that kept me from pure, unadulterated laughter was the film's constant self knowledge of how hip it is.
For example, on more than one occasion we are sent on a hand drawn animation odyssey only to return for one more joke. These sequences serve no purpose except to look hip, and all they accomplish is chopping up scenes and ruining any sense of comedic pacing.
The movie also seems to hold itself back for fear of allowing the audience member to have any emotional response. At the final resolution of the romance of Keir Gilchrist's and Emma Roberts' characters, instead of giving us dialog, Keir Gilchrist's intrusive narration buts in to tell us, "This part gets emotional, so I'll just tell you what happens." Not only does this narration go on to do the cardinal sin of most narration, telling the audience exactly what they are seeing, it warns you that it is going to do exactly that. Worst of all, this occurs after Gilchrist and Roberts give decent enough performances to have the possibility of warranting a sense of closure to their relationship. Instead, narration saves (read "ruins") the day again.
In the end, this film's potential is often stunted by its "indie flair" and its fear of leaving the audience feeling anything more than superficial. However, there is a decent movie in there somewhere. It's Kind of a Funny Story gets a C+.
PS: Jeremy Davies, I still love you, even though you are in this mediocre movie.