Richard Ayoade, a comic actor on British TV (The IT Crowd, The Mighty Boosh), makes a respectable feature-directing debut with this deftly executed oddball coming-of-age comedy. The hero is a precocious 15-year-old (Craig Roberts) in Swansea, Wales, fretting over the imminent breakup of his chipper, unhappy mom (Sally Hawkins) and endearingly placid marine biologist dad (Noah Taylor). His feelings get knit up in a new romance with a callous, sharp-tongued classmate (Yasmin Paige), and a fling between his mother and her old flame (Paddy Considine), a smooth hippie with a self-help business and a big van, sends our young man over the edge. Ayoade owes a debt to Wes Anderson (Rushmore), but the parents here are so beautifully written, and Hawkins and Taylor particularize them so well, that the movie manages to hold its own.
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