Year: 2010
Production Co: Red Hour Films
Director: Richard Ayoade
Writer: Richard Ayoade
Cast: Craig Roberts, Yasmin Paige, Noah Taylor, Sally Hawkins, Paddy Considine

I find these precocious, well-read, oddball teen coming of age stories all a bit the same no matter how well done they are, and this one certainly is. Despite the quality you can lump it in with Little Miss Sunshine, Juno and a hundred others. It wears the tag 'quirky' too produly on its sleeve.

It's the story of Oliver, a weird-looking teen in smalltown Wales in what seems to be the late 80s who gets by through keeping his head down and being weird in secret.

The first mission that forms the story is a boy meets girl saga as he sets about falling in love with the slightly unfeminine Jordana at school, somehow winning her over, impressing her with his characteristic weirdness and then chasing her away with a way of handling people that's so bad it's even hard to believe of a 15 year old. More than once, I lost sympathy for Oliver for being such an unforgivable shit.

The reason he messes things up with Jordana is the second reason for the story – his plan to rekindle his parents marriage and the ensuing confusion and fear. He keeps track of their conjugal union by the setting on the dimmer switch in their bedroom, and when his sad sack Dad (Taylor) hardly budges when a creepy New Age former lover (Considine) of his Mum (Hawkins) comes back on the scene, Oliver does everything he can to try and get his Dad moving.

It's all kooky and funny, but that's the problem, it's all kooky and funny. It's another one where the writer/director seems to want you to be impressed not with a tale you haven't seen before, but with how kooky and funny it is.

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