The story of literary family The Borgens - blocked author Bill (Kinnear), rebel teen Samantha (Collins) and her love-struck brother Rusty (Wolff) - doesn't look like it's going to have a happy ending.
Dad Bill hasn't put pen to paper since his wife (Connelly) left him for a young buck three years before and he's had to satisfy himself with a weekly knee-trembler with frisky married neighbour Kristen 'Sarah Marshall' Bell.
Samantha - deeply traumatised by her mum's sudden exit - opts for emotionless, no-strings attached sex with random dumb studs and validates her life by getting her own book published.
Rusty relies on regular lung-fulls of cannabis to help him get through the day and feels the disappointment of his father and scorn of his sister for his love for the works of Stephen King.
This unhappy clan of would-be novelists drifts along until Samantha begins to be pursued by regular nice guy and diehard romantic Lou (Logan 'Percy Jackson' Lerman) and Rusty gets romantically entangled with a wild child hiding a troubled past.
Poignant, funny and often painfully honest, this takes off thanks to the beautifully played performances, particularly Kinnear as the damaged dad who optimistically always lays a place at the table for his errant wife.
Unfashionably un-cynical, it's a labour of familial love from first-time writer-director Josh Boone whose simple style well serves a story of sweetness and wit.