Three teenagers - Joe (Nick Robinson), Patrick (Gabriel Basso) and their odd buddy Biaggio (Moises Arias) - escape the claustrophobia of their respective homes and head off into the woods to spend the summer building a wooden house while living off the land. Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts' oddball coming-of-age comedy paints a Wes Anderson-esque portrait of frustrated adolescence with a scene-stealing performance from Nick Offerman as an ultra-sarcastic dad.
It's a supremely confident director who can crack a gag mistaking homosexuality for cystic fibrosis and make it laugh-aloud funny without causing offence. Well, not too much.
And it's this bold assurance that drives along Jordan Vogt-Roberts' off-kilter coming-of-age chronicle, a supremely entertaining adventure that might threaten to fall over a couple of times but always regains its balance.
During the long summer break, best buddies Joe (Robinson) and Patrick (Basso) mutually come to the conclusion that they must flee from their overbearing families and strike out on their own.
Joe has to put up with constant stream of caustic remarks from his dad (Offerman), a bitter widower who has turned sarcasm into an art form. Only child Patrick is suffocated by his unbearably domineering mom (Megan Mullally in her finest role since Will & Grace) and dad (Evan Jackson).
When Joe walks out during a fractious family game of Monopoly and Patrick succumbs to an attack of hives brought on by his parents, the boys decide the time has come to strike out. As Joe asserts: "We make the rules...we're men!"
Like a less slappable Wes Anderson, director Vogt-Roberts and screenwriter Chris Galletta shoot life's mundanities through with a potent dose of surrealism to provide genuine laughs in a script that constantly blindsides the viewer with the plain bizarre.
Providing the most weirdness is Joe and Patrick's big-nosed buddy Biaggio, a diminutive oddball who confuses gayness with the autosomal recessive genetic disorder and asserts that in Italian the word for snake is "demon's cock".
He isn't invited to join their outdoor adventure building a cabin in the woods but just sort of appears...as does Kelly (Moriarty), a blonde school hottie who gives Joe the eye...but heartbreakingly cops off with Patrick to devastating effect.
It's utterly charming and Vogt-Roberts' comedic pizzazz never allows the energy to flag, allowing in the smugness that makes the aforementioned Anderson's outings such a self-indulgent chore.