The Way Way Back stars Steve Carell, Toni Colette, Sam Rockwell and Liam James.
This is a poignant coming of age drama with a lot of comedic moments peppered throughout.
The film is the very simple and yet very real story of an awkward adolescent coming into his own over the course of a summer vacation. There are no chase scenes, no aliens, no superheros. What this film does have is a great story line with great actors.
Liam James plays Duncan, a shy, gawky teenage boy forced to spend the summer in an unfamiliar beach town with his mom’s obnoxious boyfriend Trent (Steve Carell), his recently divorced mom Pam (Toni Colette) and Trent’s stuck-up teenage beach bunny daughter Steph (Zoe Levin).
To escape the torturous forced blended-family bonding, Duncan gets a job at a slightly cheesy water park across town and develops this friendship, father-son type, relationship with Owen, played by the hilarious Sam Rockwell.
The new job and his blossoming friendship with Owen spark a change in Duncan. His newfound confidence helps him to get closer to his crush, the pretty teen next door, Susanna (AnnaSophia Robb). It also helps him stand up to his mom’s condescending boyfriend.
The acting in this movie is understated and perfect. The story is subtle but powerful.
I kept waiting for Steve Carell to make me laugh. He didn’t, not even once. He was a totally unrepentant jerk. He did an excellent job.
Maya Rudolph also played a very low key character, leaving the comedic breaks to Sam and Liam.
The writers/directors, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, make memorable appearances as part of the water park staff. The entire supporting cast does a wonderful job, especially Allison Janey as the lush next door and Susanna’s mom.
This movie is a different twist on the typical summer nostalgic flick. It’s refreshing, funny and real. The Way Way Back is definite must see.
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