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.
Memorable Quote: "This place sucks." - Susanna (AnnaSophia Robb)