The Way, Way Back

Steve Carell

The Way, Way Back is a movie that I would like to see again in the theater - not only because the theater where I saw it played the film at a low volume, but also because the movie was just that funny. It's a coming-of-age story about a boy who is forced to join his mother at her boyfriend's beach house, along with the boyfriend's daughter, and is convinced that he's going to have a miserable summer, only to find out that perhaps there is a place he belongs after all. The performances in it are fantastic, especially Sam Rockwell's, and it's a movie that a lot of people will relate to.

Duncan (Liam James) is not happy that he, his mom (Toni Collette), her boyfriend Trent (Steve Carell), and her boyfriend's daughter (Zoe Levin) are going to Trent's beach house for the summer. A conversation between Trent and Duncan early in the film reveals that Trent is actually kind of a mean guy, even though he thinks he has good intentions, setting the tone for Trent and Duncan's relationship. When they arrive at the house, they meet their neighbors, the alcoholic Betty (Allison Janney), and her daughter Susanna (AnnaSophia Robb), as well as her son, Peter (River Alexander), who has a lazy eye. Duncan eventually makes friends with Owen (Sam Rockwell), who is the owner of Water Wizz, a water park, and Duncan takes a part-time job there, where he gets to know Owen as well as the rest of the park employees.

Liam James, who plays Duncan, is sufficiently awkward in the part - as the part is supposed to be - but it's Sam Rockwell who steals the show. He is hilarious in almost every scene of his, save for a few scenes with his "kinda girlfriend" Caitlyn (Maya Rudolph) that are more serious, and every line he speaks is pure gold. My favorite part is when he is talking to a line of kids waiting to go on one of the water slides, asking for help, and he says "I need a hero - I'm holding out for a hero 'till the end of the night - He's gotta be strong, and he's gotta be fast, and he's gotta be fresh from the fight" - lyrics from the song "I need a hero," but none of the kids know that, and just kind of look at him blankly. Allison Janney, too, steals some of the scenes she is in, as the boozy neighbor, and her son's lazy eye provides some jokes as well.

Yes, definitely see this movie. It's a Fox Searchlight indie movie, so it may be a little harder to find, but you should actively seek this one out - it's one of the funniest movies I've seen in a long time. When the film deals with some serious themes, it doesn't do quite as well, but soon enough it goes back to being a comedy, which is where it excels. One of the actors in the movie, Nat Faxon, co-wrote the screenplay, and you can tell he must be a funny guy, because the audience was laughing throughout the entire film. The Way, Way Back may not be your typical summer blockbuster, but it's worth seeing nonetheless, and may just be one of the best movies you see this summer - it's actually my favorite comedy I've seen this year so far.

The Way, Way Back is in theaters today, July 5th, and is rated PG-13 with a runtime of 103 minutes. 4.5 stars out of 5.

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