Set generally in the Maori populated rural bush, the story sees troubled, obese teenager Ricky ( Julian Dennison) literally being palmed off on childless farmers Bella (a delightful Rima the Wiata) and her bad tempered husband Hec (Sam Neill) by burnt out child welfare officer Paula ( Rachel House) .
Ricky is an angry orphan, obsessed with rapping culture and gangsters, but his defences are gradually worn down by Bella's curious warmth and rather black humour even though Hec remains stand offish and cool.
When Bella unexpectedly dies foster dad and teen reluctantly join forces to embark on a strange " True Grit " journey into the bush, pursued by the police, an obsessed and angry Paula and a set of huntsmen.
It is, what it is, namely a rather sweet fairy tale of two lost souls who find each other and credit must be given to a grizzled Sam Neill who is happy to let his rotund co star hog all of the best one liners.
Having said this, as charismatic as Dennison undoubtedly is, with his spirited haiku renditions and gangster jargon, it is important to note that he is not your typical child actor, and does, perhaps lacks, the emotional range needed to portray the more pained aspects of the boy's character.
Having said this, the movie is a comedy, and the cast do deliver a whimsically sweet story which pleases even though occasionally it dives into slapstick now and then.