IT'S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY
NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Sandee.
Craig Gilner (Keir Gilchrist) is a stressed-out, depressed 16 year old living in NYC. He is having a dream that he rides his bike to the Brooklyn Bridge in the middle of the night, and climbs up, and before he can jump, he sees his family. He slips and falls, and usually wakes up in a sweat but not this time. This time, it feels real.
Craig rides his bike early Sunday morning to the ER at the local hospital. While he waits his turn, a guy in scrubs and a white doctor’s coat sits by him, and makes conversation. He asks him why he is there, and he tells him that he has a lot going on in his head, and is depressed and having thoughts of suicide. He asks the guy if he is a doctor, and he just smiles, and then leaves. When Craig finally gets examined, the ER doctor thinks he is ok, and should just go home. Craig tells him he is afraid that he might “do something” this time, and wants the doctor to help him. He relents and admits Craig. The teen psych unit is under renovations, so all teens are being held with the adults. He gets a tour of the facility by Bobby (Zak Galifianakis)…who just happens to be the guy in the doctor’s outfit from the ER. Bobby is a patient, and he sneaks out to the ER from time to time for the good coffee there. Bobby nicknames Craig, “Cool Craig”. He sees a cute girl his age while on the tourshe is Noelle (Emma Roberts), and is also a patient. Craig’s roommate is Muqtada (Bernard White), and Egyptian man who hasn’t been out of the room or his bed.
After the tour, and seeing some of the really messed-up patients there, Craig has second thoughts and wants to go home. He asks Dr. Minerva (Viola Davis) if he can leave, but she explains that since he was admitted, he must stay at least 5 days, and then have an evaluation. She can hold him up to 30 days. During their 1st therapy session, he tells her that he was taking Zoloft, but stopped 2 weeks earlier, because he thought he was better and didn’t need it anymore. She answers that maybe he felt better because it was working. She asks about his family: Dad (Jim Gaffigan) works too much, Mom (Lauren Graham) is a little fragile, and his little sister Alissa is a genius. He loves them and they aren’t the cause of his depression. He stressed about applying for summer school at a prestigious school of pre-business majors, and hasn’t started the application yet. He also says that he has a crush on his best friend’s girlfriend, Nia (Zoe Kravitz).
At lunch, Bobby invites him to “Come sit with the men”. He is introduced to Johnny and Humbolt, two other patients there. They are saving up money to have a pizza party, and Craig offers his $8. He tries eating, but he vomits all over the table; he as a problem with stress-induced vomiting, too.
Monday morning, he explains that he goes to an elite high school, the Executive Pre-Professional H.S. in the city. Everyone that got in is exceptional…except Craig feels he is a misfit and has no idea how he got accepted. He worries more about the summer school application, and yet doesn’t start it.
At group therapy, they all notice that usually cheerful Bobby is snappish and rude. Humbolt thinks it’s because he’s nervous about his upcoming interview for admittance to a group home upon his release on Friday. If he doesn’t get in, he’s homeless, as he is separated from his wife. He thinks his sweater is ugly and “smells like a hobo’s band-aid”. Craig offers to let him borrow one of his dad’s shirts, and reluctantly, Bobby agrees. When session is over, Noelle drops a note at his feetit asks him to meet her near the pay phones at 4:00.
His mom and sister bring the shirt, and visit Craig. Dad had a “client emergency” and couldn’t come. They love him and hope he feels better soon. Craig brings the shirt to Bobby and offers to rehearse the interview with him, so he wont’ be so nervous. He sees a photo of a girl-she is Bobby’s 8 year old daughter.
At 4:00, he meets Noelle. He notices slash marks on her arms. She tells him she tried to commit suicide and has already been in for 21 days. She gets him to play the Question Game, as a way to get acquainted, and tells him that since he came for help, that maybe deep down he really didn’t want to commit suicide. He thinks about this, and then they go to the group Arts & Crafts Therapy.
Once there, the therapist tells Craig he must draw something. (He has a flashback to being frustrated as a 5-year-old, that he couldn’t ’trace the Manhattan map better. His mom told him it was impossible to do it perfectly, especially since he’s just 5. She suggests that he draw his own city and map.) While drawing, he is lost in his thoughts of family, friends, school, homework, and all the things that cause him to worry. He ends up with an aerial drawing of a busy city, and calls it his “brain map”. It is very good, and he smiles.
On Tuesday, Craig sees Bobby in the visiting room, being yelled at by his wife. Their 8 year old daughter is there, and hears it all. Not long after this, his parents visit. His dad got an extension for him on the summer school application. Mom says that she just wants him to get well. After they leave, Bobby comes in with Craig’s dad’s shirt tied around his head like a turban. Craig asks what’s up, and he screams into a pillow. He says he blew his interview, and then begins to trash the shelves in the room. 3 staff members take him away.
Another session with Dr. Minerva, and Craig reveals that he has never been able to vent like Bobby did. He keeps it inside and feels like he is about the blow. She asks him to remember the last time he felt happy and carefree: he thinks back to a day in 8th grade, when he and best-friend Erin went to Coney Island, then a huge bike ride all over the city, and ended up on the Brooklyn Bridge. After that, it was worries about girls, grades, parents, homework, wars, pollution, and everything else. He says he knows his parents are good people, but he wonders why his dad mentioned the extension on the summer school app when he KNOWS he is stressed out to the point of suicide?
He sees Bobby later that night, and asks how he is feeling. He says great, as he is high on Ativan. He tells Craig he thinks his daughter is better off without him. Craig says that he thinks she’d just love to have her dad around.
In Music Therapy, everyone grabs an instrument, except Craig. They require him to participate, so he is given the microphone to do vocals. The leader gives him some song lyrics, and then he begins the song: “Under Pressure” by David Bowie. While singing, Craig imagines that the ward is performing in concert, and they all have glitzy costumes and are fantastic. He belts out the song and everyone sings along. At the end, there is silence…and then the patients cheer and holler, as Craig was apparently fantastic, “like a rock star”. He smiles and is pleased and they call him Cool Craig. Afterwards, Craig gets a phone call form Nia; she says she wants to come visit him, and Craig says it is ok.
Wednesday morning, Bobby wakes up Craig and he is wearing scrubs, the doctor jacket and a mask. He hands Craig some scrubs and tells him to get dressed. Bobby acts as the doctor, and wheels Craig, all swaddled in a blanket, hiding his face, to the stairs. They head out, and Bobby trades 2 pills to the janitor for 30 minutes of playtime in the gymnasium. They shoot hoops and are both terrible. Then they just talk. Bobby role plays with Craig, as Noelle, so he can be less nervous and ask her out. Bobby finally tells him to just loosen up. Craig asks Bobby how he ended up in the hospital, and Bobby tells him he tried to kill himself 6 times. Bobby tells Craig that he is jealous of Craigthat if he could be Craig for just one day, he’d do so much. He also says to just live his life like it means something--just go LIVE.
Nia comes to visit. She says that she and Erin broke up, and she comes on to Craig. They go in his room, and she pushes him down on the bed and straddles him, and kisses him. They hear Muqtada in the bathroomhe comes out and yells “Sex in my bed!”, and is angry. Craig stress-vomits and Nia is grossed out, and leaves. He says after her, “I love you”, but she keeps going…and as he turns around, he sees Noelle, and that she heard. She crumples and drops a paper and leaves, angry. It was a self portrait, called “Under Pressure”. He tries to apologize, and she slips a drawing out her door: it is a penis labeled “Craig”. Craig goes to bed, and says that Muqtada has it all figured out: never leave the bed.
Craig sleeps through breakfast and Bobby comes in to wake him up. He heard all about the Nia/Noelle affair from the other patients. He tells Craig that if he isn’t busy being born, that he is busy dying. This is a profound statement to Craig, and he thinks and then gets up. He finds Noelle, apologizes for the Nia-thing, and tells her that same thing Bobby told him. She lets him know that sentiment is a lyric from a Bob Dylan song. Craig had no idea…but says oh well, (no stress-vomiting from the faux-pas), and asks her to “play doctor”. He does what Bobby did: dresses as a doctor, and wheels Noelle out. They run all over the hospital, and end up on the roof. They kiss, talk about music and make plans to se a concert together later in the month.
Craig asks Smitty, the assistant, to order the pizza for the party, as it is both his and Bobby’s last night there. He agrees, and Craig also asks him to bring some records. He calls his friend Erin, and asks him for a favor, and Erin says he’ll bring the item right over. When he gets there, it is in a brown bag. They talk, and Erin tells him NOT to kill himself. Craig smiles and says ok.
Pizza Party in the lounge, and the music is playing, patients and staff are dancing, but Bobby isn’t there. Craig goes to find him, but he says he is busy packing. He gives Bobby a drawing: it is a brain map of Bobby. He likes it. Craig returns to the party, and opens the package from Erin: it is a record that he asks Smitty to play. It is strange Egyptian music. It plays, and then Muqtada comes out of his room, joins them in the lounge…and dances! Bobby watches from the doorway, then leaves.
It’s Friday morning, and Craig is looking for Bobby to say good-bye. Smitty tells him he left really early and is gone. Humbolt want Craig to stay longer. They all say good-bye to Craig. He knows he isn’t all better, but that this is the beginning. He isn’t going to fear the future now-he can look forward to all the things he wants to do with his life. (Craig shows a preview of his life outside the hospital: not CEO or President, not at summer school, telling his Dad he isn’t going, kissing Noelle a lot, drawing, volunteering back at the hospital and helping kids like himself, run, skip, jump, skip some more, and just BREATHE. LIVE.