"Passion rarely lasts, I'm afraid," Noah Taylor's glum marine biologist, Lloyd, advises his son, Oliver (Craig Roberts).
And Taylor, who excelled in two of Australia's loveliest coming-of-age tales, The Year My Voice Broke (1987) and Flirting (1991), is one of the highlights of Richard Ayoade's bittersweet teen romance. Bookish, duffel-coat-wearing Oliver, who is bullied at his Welsh comprehensive, is smitten by acerbic Jordana (Yasmin Paige). He defends her honour in the playground, refusing to call her "a slut", and gets walloped for his troubles. He also, briefly, gets the girl. However, his gloomy home life is impeding his happiness. His "naturally neurotic" mother (Sally Hawkins) is on the cusp of having an affair with their sleazy neighbour, Graham "the Ninja" (Paddy Considine, very droll), a platitude-spouting life coach. And Lloyd refuses to care about it.
Ayoade's debut film, adapted from Joe Dunthorne's novel, is very stylistic and references 400 Blows, Harold and Maude and Rushmore. It's not terribly funny, in fact it's rather sad, but Roberts and Paige are good together and there's some tangy dialogue.