The Way, Way Back
Limited Theatrical Release – The funny and poignant coming of age story of 14-year-old Duncan’s (Liam James) summer vacation with his mother, Pam (Toni Collette), her overbearing boyfriend, Trent (Steve Carell), and his daughter, Steph (Zoe Levin).
Having a rough time fitting in, the introverted Duncan finds an unexpected friend in gregarious 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
Steve Carell plays a part in this movie unlike any I have ever seen him play before. He plays a man with a nasty attitude. His character, Trent, is dating a woman named Pam and tells her 14-year-old son Duncan (Liam James) that he is a three on a scale of one to ten because of his lack of socializing. Carell, usually known for playing good guys, such as in the Dove approved movie “Dan in Real Life”, is a man that does such things as make Duncan sport a life jacket while sailing on a boat while not making anyone else wear one. He gets short with Duncan and when Duncan finds him kissing a married woman, he wants absolutely nothing more to do with Trent.
Yet there are a few positives in Duncan’s life such as becoming friends with a girl who encourages him to get past his shyness and talk. AnnaSophia Robb plays the girl and does a nice job. Also, he meets an outgoing manager of the Water Wizz water park, named Owen, who helps him open up more than anyone and employs him for the summer. Sam Rockwell turns in a nice performance as Owen; a quirky man with a heart of gold. This movie is really about growth and what people do when forced into difficult situations. Eventually Pam has to decide whether to put up with the philandering Trent or move on.
Despite character growth, a few laughs along the way and a touching performance by Liam James as Duncan, this film is loaded with language including the F bomb, not to mention some sexual innuendos and the selling of drugs so we therefore are unable to award it our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal.