Posted on 9/02/13 12:50 PM
"You've got a great kid here."
This came out of nowhere for me, i'd never heard of it until i saw it listed. I initially dismissed it as another coming of age comedy that would probably be filled with the same tropes and the usual uncomfortable, awkwardness that goes hand-in-hand with this kind of film. How wrong i was, 'The Way Way Back' was a great surprise and a film worthy of the praise it has gotten.
The film follows 'Duncan' ('Liam James') an awkward and unhappy teenage boy who gets dragged along with his mum, 'Pam' ('Toni Collette') and his mum's boyfriend 'Trent' ('Steve Carell') which he really doesn't like and his daughter 'Steph' ('Zoe Levin'). It's not that film isn't full of cliches (because it is) but because they're done so well that who cares. There's the usual awkward scenes, the older father-like figure 'Owen' ('Sam Rockwell') etc. There's no new ground broken but what it does it does extremely well. Thanks in part to a hilarious and very strong performance from 'Sam Rockwell' and a brilliant performance from 'Liam Duncan' as the central character, 'Allison Janny' also delivers a excellent performance as the drunk annoying neighbor 'Betty' - who by the end is shown to be the most tolerable of Trent's circle. The interaction between the two is nothing short of excellent. The performances as a whole drive this film, and a great character script breathing a real believable life to these characters. There's a real nice balance between the serious character progression that is happening to 'Duncan' with his confidence growing and the problems between his mum and 'Trent'.
It has a very happy and cheery mood for the most part, but there are still the moments of angst here and there that come with the territory - mainly thanks to 'Trent' who as time goes on he hates more and more. It's also shot quite beautifully as well, the serene, happy streets of the coast and the bright water park help to solidify the uplifting message it contains.
'The Way Way Back' doesn't break any new ground there are cliches abound here but that doesn't affect this film at all. Instead it embraces them and focuses on a great set of characters and hilarious moments that put a smile on the face. 'Liam James' does a great job as the central character and 'Sam Rockwell' is his ever quick witted brilliant self. A little gem that nearly went under my radar i'm so glad i watched it and you shouldn't miss it either.