A Welsh variation on Rushmore’s Max Fisher, 15-year-old Oliver Tate comes of age through a budding romance with classmate Jordana (Yasmin Paige) and his quest to save his parents’ (Noah Taylor and Sally Hawkins) marriage in Submarine, Richard Ayoade’s off-putting ode to quirky teen desire and self-discovery. From knowing narration and addresses to the camera, to literal and thematic allusions to Jean-Pierre Melville’s doomed noirs and Francois Truffaut’s The 400 Blows, Ayoade’s debut (based on Joe Dunthorne’s novel) steeps itself in cinematic self-reflexivity, a wink-winkiness that’s rarely elevated by the dry wit of its protagonist, who woos Jordana by engaging in distasteful bullying and convinces her to have sex with him by sincerely expressing his feelings in a letter. True happiness is achieved through confronting and overcoming fear and insecurity, be it with regards to Oliver, Jordana, or Oliver’s dry-as-toast parents, whose stilted marriage (which Oliver spies on, in order to maintain its health) is challenged by the arrival of mom’s former crush (Paddy Considine), a wacko psychic with a van featuring a Dark Side of the Moon-style painting of himself on its side. Whereas the early going boasts at least a bit of lighthearted drollness, the film and its copious eccentricities become less charming the further the material veers into serious betrayal-and-forgiveness crises, with verve flagging and Oliver’s oddball earnestness and desperation coming across as wan affectations. His pretentiousness may not wholly sink Submarine, but it’s enough to prevent the film from rising above its numerous quirk-fest predecessors.