The Way, Way Back (PG-13) is a funny and dramatic coming of age story starring Liam James (2012) as Duncan, a 14-year-old boy who goes on summer vacation with his mother, Pam (Toni Collette, Little Miss Sunshine), her boyfriend Trent (Steve Carell, Crazy Stupid Love) and Trent’s daughter, Steph (Zoe Levin, Trust).
Duncan has to spend the summer enduring his mother’s jerk of a boyfriend, Trent, all the while going through that awkward moment in life; that moment when we aren’t sure where we fit in or if we even do.
He soon makes friends with the owner of Wizz Water Park, Owen (Sam Rockwell, Iron Man 2) when he ends up there to escape the claustrophobia that comes along with family. He is also hired to tend to odd jobs, which is mother is clueless about. This friendship is therapeutic to Duncan as Owen seems to be the only adult or person that Duncan can relate to. While there, Duncan learns who he is and begins to open up; he begins to grow up.
The film is from Fox Searchlight Films also produced Little Miss Sunshine, which happened to start both Toni Collette and Steve Carell. Nate Faxon and Jim Rash wrote and directed The Way, Way Back as well as played water park staff members, Roddy and Lewis. Both artists, along with Alexander Payne, wrote the script for The Descendants, based on the novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings.
The young and talented AnnaSophia Robb (Soul Surfer) is Duncan’s summer crush. Allison Janney (The Help) plays the zany next-door-neighbor who shares too much information. Also, Rob Corddy (Warm Bodies) and Amanda Peet (2012) are Trent’s friends who join the family on their vacation. Maya Rudolph (Bridesmaids) rounds out the cast as the sassy water park worker.
Carell has been in the spotlight for his role as the “bad guy.” He is insulting to Duncan, constantly cutting him down. Carell is known for his humorous roles in films such as, Anchor Man, 40-Year-Old Virgin and the television hit The Office. To see him take on a role that goes against character is refreshing.
The Way, Way Back is in theaters now.