Chbosky plays this CW serial stuff for maximum earnestness, stressing the teenage tendency to assume that every new thing they're feeling is unprecedented in human history, keeping the tone just-moist-eyed throughout.
A muddled creation blessed with unique emotional sincerity, yet cursed with loose ends and poorly defined characters, huddled into a precious creation that might test the patience of those with a sensitivity to effusive teen melodrama.
It's all frightfully familiar - as if teens sitting around the campfire need to be told the same story every night - until the last 15 mins., when this Cocoa Puffs movie reveals an underlayer of arsenic.
Verbal play and smartass-ery weaves through Wallflower, but it's of the predictable variety rather than the wryly observant commentary we'd hope for, like when a bored teen drawls: "That works on so many levels."
The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Ripe dramatic material, but Chbosky surrounds his hurting characters with the cinematic equivalent of a hug circle -- which is sweet, but rather antithetical to tension-building.
You can feel Chbosky's blood, sweat and tears oozing out of this highly personal project, but that holy trinity of fluids isn't enough to wash away the sense that you've seen this before-many, many, many times.