I can't precisely tell you why I think it's just an assemblage of tropes designed for the indie art crowd, but perhaps the scene where Dwayne, the follower of Nietzche, discovers he can't be a pilot was the deal-breaker for me. That, or Steve Carells' Proustian expert didn't ring true. It's as if they threw a lot of things at the wall to see what would stick. And of course there's the twee.
There are far too many obvious set-ups, so that when the payoffs come, our joy comes out of the knowledge that we predicted that such a thing would happen, rather than the revelation actually being very funny
That Devotchka song is still haunting me 11 years later, talk about a classic. The film is so moving and funny. Can't stop re-watching every time it comes on TV. I feel so bad for Dwayne. I feel his hurt.
The father's a failed motivational speaker/salesman. The grandfather's a foul-mouthed addict. The mother's a previously divorced worker with a heavy load. The uncle's an suicidal, unemployed scholar. The son's a silent recluse. And in the middle of it all is the daughter, the young girl with beauty pageant dreams. It doesn't get much complicated than this, and that's why this movie works.