Review: The Way Way Back

We've all been there.
 
Duncan (Liam James) is a shy teenage boy who is spending the summer with his mother, Pam (Toni Collette) at her boyfriend, Trent's (Steve Carell) beach house. Trent and Duncan don't see eye to eye. Trent is condescending and rude and Pam does nothing to stand up for Duncan. One day he bikes to a nearby water park and meets an employee, Owen (Sam Rockwell) who can see through Duncan's awkwardness and offers him a job. The rest is about Duncan trying to find his place in life, and ultimately finding happiness.
 
I was worried I was going to constantly compare this film with Adventureland when I saw the trailer, they seemed so similar. Lucky for me, they are totally different, though I would say Adventureland is far superior. James turns in a painfully awkward performance which fits his character, but it's Rockwell who steals the show. Owen is irresponsible and funny, but we can tell he has a heart of gold, and he's willing to stand up for Duncan when things get rough. He really brings him out of his shell, and the scenes of Duncan and Owen together are the best in the film. Unfortunately the pacing kind of ruins everything else. The film dragged along. We know that Duncan is eventually going to end up at the water park, yet the film takes forever to get to that point.
 
There's a lot of talented people in the cast, though all are small parts. Steve Carell plays a better asshole than he does a funnyman in my opinion, and Alison Janney is a pleasure to see as a drunk spazzy neighbor. I really wanted to like The Way Way Back, but it just didn't do much for me other than Rockwell's performance. It's certainly not a bad movie, but not one of the best coming of age stories out there either.
 
Recommended: No
 
Grade: C+
 
Memorable Quote: "This place sucks." - Susanna (AnnaSophia Robb)

12 comments:

  1. It certainly wasn't a bad film, but I didn't understand the hype either. The cast gave great performances, particularly Rockwell, but it wasn't the spectacular 'coming-of-age' story I was anticipating :\

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  2. Looks like another hyped film fails to deliver. I kind of saw this one coming, but I'm still interested in seeing it...eventually.

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    1. Yeah, I'd recommended to wait for DVD, discount theatre, or Netflix. It's nothing to rush out for.

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  3. That's too bad about the film. I was looking forward to seeing it, mainly because of Sam Rockwell.

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    1. If you're a big Rockwell fan, it's worth seeing it for him.

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  4. The Hubby and I have had our eye on this film for a while. It's a shame it didn't merit a better rating from you. :) Still, if I scale down my expectations, I am likely to enjoy it.

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    1. I'm sorry to disappoint! I just didn't get the hype.

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  5. Is it at least better than Descendants? Because I nearly fell asleep on that one.

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    1. I loved the Descendants, so I don't think this movie even came close to it.

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  6. Rockwell is wonderful! I agree Adventureland is way better, but I really liked it. B+ for me.

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    1. I really liked that last scene with Rockwell and Carrell. That sticks in my mind. I just loved it, even though the movie didn't really impress me much.

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