Film Review: For a Real Summer Movie, Go ‘The Way, Way Back’

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CHICAGO – Nothing evokes the time, sights and smells of summer like the getaway resort. The long days, the mystery of night, the first crush and the summer job are all brought back in the soapy yet fun “The Way, Way Back,” featuring Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell and Allison Janney. Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

What makes this film work is the victory of a 15 year old boy to find what makes him courageous, through a potential stepfather, a timid mother and a surrogate mentor at a water park. “The Way, Way Back” also contains a bit of previous generation nostalgia, as the title refers to that little fold up seat in a station wagon that faces the traffic in back – which most big families had. The first crush is beautifully represented as well, through a perfectly cast young actress and the situation of her problems. This is a sit-back-and-enjoy story with its share of heartache, parties and sand between the toes, the very definition that makes the summer come alive.

Duncan (Liam James) is the 15 year old protagonist, who is being dragged to a oceanside summer resort by his mother Pam (Toni Collette) and her boyfriend Trent (Steve Carell). While sitting in the “way, way back,” Duncan has to listen to a lecture belittling him by the rather odious Trent, and his dislike for his mother’s beau is about to boil over as they reach the resort.

The summer neighbors are Betty (Allison Janney), Kip (Robb Corddry) and his wife Joan (Amanda Peet). Susanna (AnnaSophia Robb) is the daughter of Betty, and the object of Duncan’s teenage crush. But first he is bored, and attaches himself – job included – to a rundown local water park. This contains his new mentor Owen (Sam Rockwell), and a gang of workers who will recharge his summer, including Caitlyn (Maya Rudolph), Lewis (Jim Rash) and Roddy (Nat Faxon).

“The Way, Way Back” opens everywhere on July 5th. Featuring Sam Rockwell, Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Maya Rudolph, Amanda Peet, Allison Janney, Jim Rash and Nat Faxon. Written and directed by Jim Rash and Nat Faxon. Rated “PG-13”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “The Way, Way Back”

Nat Faxon, Sam Rockwell, Liam James
Roddy (Nat Faxon), Owen (Sam Rockwell) and Duncan (Liam James) in ‘The Way, Way Back’
Photo credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “The Way, Way Back”

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