movie film review | chris tookey

Way, Way Back

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  Way, Way Back Review
Tookey's Rating
7 /10
Average Rating
5.88 /10
Liam James, Steve Carell , Sam Rockwell
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Directed by: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash
Written by: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash

Released: 2013
Genre: DRAMA
Origin: US
Length: 103

Cute rites-of-passage comedy.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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The Way, Way Back is directed and written by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, the Oscar-winning co-writers of The Descendants.

Itís a likeable, good-natured comedy about a 14 year-old boy (Liam James, pictured) being taken by his recently divorced mother (Toni Collette) to the American seaside home of mumís annoying, patronizing and not wholly trustworthy boyfriend Ė thatís Steve Carell, never better than when playing straight.

Our youthful hero is attracted to the pretty blonde next door (AnnaSophia Robb) but put off by her loudmouth, alcoholic mother (Alison Janney).

He finds paid employment at a seedy water park, run by a gang of lovable eccentrics under the leadership of a fast-talking beach bum (Sam Rockwell) who turns out to be a better surrogate father than our heroís putative stepfather could ever be.

The plot developments are formulaic, and the romantic subplot trite. The screenplay is much too similar to a recent film starring Jesse Eisenberg, called Adventureland, which suggests to me that it may be an old work-in-progress, pulled out of a bottom drawer after the success of The Descendants.

All the same, Collette and Carell endow their characters with poignancy and authenticity, while Rockwell and Janney are superb at wringing every possible laugh out of the sparky dialogue. The writer-directors give themselves slightly larger than cameo roles as goofy water park employees.

Though seldom laugh-out-loud funny, itís the kind of movie that puts a smile on your face and keeps it there. Itís warm and charming, with a sincere affection for the American seaside at its tackiest.

It has a real feeling for the joy of summer holidays in the sun, and both writers clearly have sympathy for the adolescent agonies their young leading character is suffering. It may not be a great movie or an original one, but I liked it a lot.

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