Payne's novel calls for (as in "Catcher") the protagonist to speak to us in the first person, so Nash has him doing the same in voice over. Speaking in all-too-formal language in flat nasal tones he suggests his interest in foreign films & esoteric literature; all the while hiding behind that façade is this nerdy kid anxious to get laid. His family is a humorous mess and so are all the people around him, but as luck would have it, he meets a sweet, charming girl Sheeni (Portia Doubleday) who lives in a 2-storied mobile home with her ultra religious parents and who also puts on erudite airs to match Nick's.
Miguel Arteta, not unfamiliar with films dealing with adolescents involving sometimes queasy, sexual explorations, guides his characters through 90-minutes of sometimes amusing, sometimes clever situations that may mildly recall not only Salinger's opus, but in a far less developed manner, also the confused hero of "The Graduate," neither of which needed discussions of "hard-ons" or other suggestion of matters sexual to get their points across about contemporary teens growing-up-confused.
The film bounces along with sprite pace, includes some clever animation to indicate travels from place to place, and introduces a whole passle of abnormal-but-divering, slightly developed characters. Most of the adults, of course, are painted with a scathing brush while the teens come across as simply dreamy or confused, living for the moment with little thought of future consequences. John Swihart's music fits the youth-oriented theme, as zippy as the animation. (Grade: B-)