Dying is easy but comedy is hard, as the saying goes. I’m not sure where drama fits in, but Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, the writing and directing team who made Half Nelson (2006) and Sugar (2008), create a fine ensemble cast for this third feature by pulling together skilled character actors (Viola Davis, Jeremy Davies, Adrian Martinez) and professional comedians playing straight (Zach Galifianakis, Jim Gaffigan, Aasif Mandvi). A depressed high schooler (Keir Gilchrist) naively checks himself into a psychiatric ward and then discovers he has to stay five days for observation; what follows is a fairly standard coming-of-age story, but the peripheral wackos keep it from feeling too pat. The film inhabits that elusive space between sanity and insanity, where most of life takes place.
Director: Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck
Producer: Kevin Misher, Ben Browning, Jeremy Walker, Michael Maher, Peter Rawlinson and Patrick Baker
Cast: Keir Gilchrist, Zach Galifianakis, Emma Roberts, Viola Davis, Lauren Graham, Jim Gaffigan, Zoë Kravitz, Aasif Mandvi, Jeremy Davies, Karen Chilton, Jared Goldstein, Alan Aisenberg, Thomas Mann and Rosalyn Coleman