Review

  • Funny Story (2018) was co-written and directed by Michael J. Gallagher. It stars Matthew Glave as Walter, a former star of a TV series. The show has ended, but Walter is still making a comfortable income from re-runs and from appearances at fantasy conventions.

    The movie opens with two unusual scenes. One is the appearance of a young woman named Kim (Emily Bett Rickards) at her mother's funeral. In a clumsy bit of exposition, we learn that Kim has been estranged from her mother, and didn't visit when her mother was dying.

    Walter is breaking up with his girlfriend until she suddenly announces that she's pregnant. For better or (probably) worse, he will stay together with her.

    Jana Winternitz portrays Nic, Walter's estranged daughter. She tells her father that she can't visit him because she's going with friends to a resort in Big Sur. Walter asks if he can join them, and Nic agrees.

    Then, in the next five minutes, Kim's car breaks down, and she needs a lift to Big Sur. Walter is enlisted to give her a lift, and they have to stay overnight at a motel. When they get to the motel, they learn that there's only one room available. (Not kidding--this all happens in the first 15 minutes of the movie.)

    The next day they arrive in Big Sur, where Walter meets Nic's friends, all of whom are lesbians. (Well, one likes to "Dabble.") It turns out that Nic and Kim are a couple, and they're going to get married at the resort in Big Sur.

    Then matters really get weird. One of the guests is a woman named Moon, who is very spiritual. This could have worked, except that she is so spacey that all you can do it laugh at her. Why couldn't the spiritual person be portrayed as just serious and committed to her beliefs. Why did director Gallagher make her an object of laughter?

    Walter asks the friends some questions about lesbian relationships that, in reality, he wouldn't have asked. He's a sophisticated guy, and he would know the answers, or he would know better than to ask the questions.

    We see clips of Walter's TV series, and they are truly terrible. No one expects great art from a TV fantasy series, but I've never seen a fantasy series so ridiculously portrayed. Is it an in joke from director Gallagher that he can get away with showing us something so ghastly? You may not be into Game of Thrones, but the acting and production values are reasonably high. Walter's show is like a parody.

    The question asked in the movie's hype is, "What if you knew a secret that would ruin somebody's life? Would you tell? Or, would you keep it to yourself?" That sounds intriguing, but it really isn't the correct question in the plot.

    We saw this film at the Little Theatre as part of Rochester's excellent ImageOut, the LGBT Film Festival. It won't quite work as well on the small screen, because you'll lose some of the grandeur of the Big Sur location.

    Of course, that assumes that you'll want to seek it out and see it. Despite the interesting premise, there are too many things wrong with the movie for me to recommend it. You'll have to decide when more ratings are in, and when some other people take the time to review it.