I attended a free advanced screening of this film to facilitate my review. No monetary compensation was given.
The Way, Way Back: A classic Coming-Of-Age Tale. A summer Duncan will never forget.
The Way, Way Back is a new summer comedy from the studio that gave us Little Miss Sunshine and Juno. The Way, Way Back is inspiring, funny, and a poignant coming of age story about Duncan (Liam James). 14-year-old Duncan is some-what of an introvert who is on a summer vacation with his mother, Pam (Toni Collette), her overbearing boyfriend, Trent (Steve Carell), and his daughter, Steph (Zoe Levin). Duncan finds an unexpected friend in bigger-than-life, Owen (Sam Rockwell), manager of the Water Wizz water park. Through his funny, clandestine friendship with Owen, Duncan slowly opens up to and begins to finally find his place in the world, all during a summer he will never forget.
From the beginning of this film, the audience can tell that Duncan would rather be anywhere but in the back seat of Trent’s classic station wagon en route to his beach house for summer vacation. Duncan and his mom, Pam, are heading to Trent’s summer beach cottage. While Pam and Steph are sleeping in the car, Trent has the world’s most awkward conversation when Duncan. From that conversation, it’s easy for the audience to know that Trent isn’t Duncan’s biggest fan. Watching the first half of this film, I felt bad for Duncan and his awkwardness made me want to reach through the screen and hug him.
Meeting Owen at the Water Wizz water park changed Duncan’s life, for the better. Befriending Owen and the fun-loving staff at the water park helped Duncan through his awkward adolescence phase and turned him into a smooth-talking, confident teen. Duncan comes full-circle and his adventure becomes quite hilarious at some points. Plus, Duncan’s revived relationship with his mom, Pam, is something that everyone who came from divorce can understand.
The Way, Way Back is in theaters in select cities now. It will not open in Baton Rouge until July 26th (NOLA area).
Rated PG 13