The Way, Way Back

The Way, Way Back

The Way, Way Back

Steve Carell, Toni Collette and Sam Rockwell star in this coming-of-age comedy, written and directed by two of the Oscar-winning screenwriters of The Descendants. During a summer vacation in a Northeast beach town, introverted teen Duncan (Liam James) strikes up an unlikely friendship with the manager of Water Wizz water park (Rockwell). Meanwhile Duncan’s mother (Collette) alienates her son through her determined efforts to make things work with her carousing boyfriend (Carell), whose hollow attempts to build a family are immediately transparent to Duncan.

2013Rating: M, Drug references & sexual references96 minsUSA
ComedyDrama

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The Way, Way Back / Reviews

Flicks, Rebecca Barry Hill

Flicks, Rebecca Barry Hill

A contender for feel-good comedy of the year, The Way, Way Back treads a similar path to Jim Rash and Nat Faxon’s other Oscar-winning film, The Descendants, with memorable characters, heartfelt themes and a great cast. This isn’t quite as nuanced or complex as the George Clooney drama, sticking to a crowd-pleasing formula, broad humour and familiar coming-of-age sentiment. And although you can fairly predict the girl-next-door romance and protagonists’ character arc from gloomily awkward to cheerily confident, it’s not hard to warm to the film when you spend a good portion of it laughing out loud.

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Time Out

Time Out

The young hero of Nat Faxon and Jim Rash’s summertime dramedy resembles nothing so much as a mollusk without a shell.

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The New Yorker

The New Yorker

Once again, the oppressed American teen-ager lopes and shuffles to center stage, there to display his woes.

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The New York Times

The New York Times

Has the charm of timelessness but also more than a touch of triteness.

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The Guardian

The Guardian

When the credits roll, one is left thinking less of the fate of the characters than of the rollcall of Sundance offerings this film resembles.

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The Dissolve

The Dissolve

Faxon and Rash cut Duncan a clear, broad path to growth and perspective, but the audience can see where it's going long before it gets there.

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The Age

The Age

Aside from Carell's limited turn at doing nasty, it all feels terribly familiar, in a half-baked, Little Miss Sunshine-lite sort of way.

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Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter

Despite the familiarity of this setup, Way Back is a charmer.

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A.V. Club

A.V. Club

Labors under the delusion that all filmmakers need to engineer a crowd-pleaser are a collection of tried-and-true conventions and a healthy dose of nostalgia.

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