The Way Way Back - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Way Way Back Reviews

Top Critic
Wesley Morris
Grantland
January 6, 2014
The film has been complacently concocted for likability even as it gives you very little that's real, structured, or spontaneous enough to enjoy.
Top Critic
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
September 10, 2013
Nice comedic work from Sam Rockwell and Allison Janney buoys this pleasant but routine coming-of-age drama by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash.
Top Critic
Anna Smith
Time Out
August 27, 2013
This film's masterstroke is showing everything from Duncan's point of view, without the traditional cloying narration.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Leonard Maltin
indieWIRE
July 26, 2013
Like many of the best films in this genre The Way, Way Back is rooted in truth: honest observations about family dynamics, adolescence, dependence and independence.
Top Critic
Christopher Orr
The Atlantic
July 26, 2013
An unexpected yet irresistible cross between Meatballs and The Ice Storm, The Way Way Back just may be the best movie of the summer.
Top Critic
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
July 19, 2013
The coming-of-age tale The Way, Way Back is sweet, heartfelt and utterly trite and predictable from beginning to end.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
July 18, 2013
Aiming for a middle path between drama and comedy, "The Way Way Back" is so overloaded with jokes that it could sink in the water hazard, but on the final scorecard, sure enough, it's in the hole.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
July 16, 2013
Nostalgia often tinges our memories in soft, warm colors; something like The Way Way Back reminds us of the good, the bad, and the cringe-worthy.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Anthony Lane
New Yorker
July 15, 2013
Once again, the oppressed American teen-ager lopes and shuffles to center stage, there to display his woes.
Top Critic
Michael Sragow
Orange County Register
July 12, 2013
The sometimes airy, sometimes claustrophobic ambiance fills you with the same bittersweet feeling as spinning a half-forgotten Golden Oldie at a backyard cookout.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
July 12, 2013
Waterslides and infidelity just don't go together.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
Top Critic
John Anderson
Newsday
July 11, 2013
Any movie that lifts from both "This Boy's Life" and "Meatballs" is a rarefied creation, and in this case a pretty wonderful movie.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
July 11, 2013
Feels familiar, but in a good way, like a comfortably rumpled beach house you're happy to return to year after year.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
July 11, 2013
"The Way, Way Back" is a nifty blend of humor, heart and drama.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Tirdad Derakhshani
Philadelphia Inquirer
July 11, 2013
A sly, richly modulated, emotionally engaging, and brutally honest film ...
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
July 11, 2013
A movie that feels like a greatest-hits montage of summer coming-of-age films.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
July 8, 2013
The Way Way Back gets it wittily, thrillingly right. It turns the familiar into something bracingly fresh and funny. It makes you laugh, then breaks your heart.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Leah Rozen
TheWrap
July 8, 2013
Part of what makes Way, Way Back so engaging are the terrific performances.
Top Critic
Mary F. Pols
TIME Magazine
July 8, 2013
It's likely there will be many wet eyes in the theater as the screen goes to black.
Top Critic
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
July 5, 2013
You don't see too many movies about the importance of fathers, and they're rarely done this well.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
July 5, 2013
The film is awash in safe choices, from indie-pop-accompanied montages to sitcom one-liners and black-and-white characters.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
July 5, 2013
A coming-of-age drama that manages some genuinely surprising turns despite the formulaic road it travels.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
July 5, 2013
The comedy dial does occasionally creep past 11. But the over-the-top Janney is still often hilarious, and Rockwell is a string of firecrackers.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Cary Darling
Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com
July 4, 2013
As with The Descendants, Faxon and Rash ably balance the humorous and the heavy, tipping neither toward the silly nor the mawkish.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
July 4, 2013
The film is bursting with life-and blissful silliness ...
Top Critic
Betsy Sharkey
Los Angeles Times
July 4, 2013
Authenticity gives the movie its witty, heartwarming, hopeful, sentimental, searing and relatable edge. It is merciless in probing the tender spots of times like these, and tough-guy sweet in patching up the wounds.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Top Critic
Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
July 4, 2013
Beautifully executed, loaded with sharp observational moments, and never cheats either its characters or its audience by descending into raunchy teen-movie cliché.
Top Critic
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
July 4, 2013
"The Way, Way Back" is a minor pleasure rather than a major work. But minor pleasures have their place, especially in summertime, and this one goes down like a popsicle on a hot day.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Michael Granberry
Dallas Morning News
July 4, 2013
The Way, Way Back features seasoned actors Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Allison Janney and Amanda Peet, but they offer only support to a story that 16-year-old Canadian Liam James carries to the point of stealing.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
Claudia Puig
USA Today
July 4, 2013
With its subtle wit, engaging story, topnotch ensemble cast and sparkling dialogue, it's this summer's Little Miss Sunshine.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
A.O. Scott
New York Times
July 4, 2013
"The Way, Way Back" has the charm of timelessness but also more than a touch of triteness.
| Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
A.A. Dowd
AV Club
July 4, 2013
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.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
Top Critic
Linda Barnard
Toronto Star
July 4, 2013
Brimming with summer nostalgia as familiar as sunburned noses and marshmallow roasts bolstered by solid performances, The Way, Way Back is carried along nicely by a cracking good script.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Bill Zwecker
Chicago Sun-Times
July 3, 2013
[An] absolutely superb coming-of-age film.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
July 3, 2013
It's smart, funny and moving about human weakness. And it doesn't divide the world into good and bad adults - not counting that one bona-fide creep and his clueless squeeze.
Top Critic
Jocelyn Noveck
Associated Press
July 3, 2013
It meanders a bit, it's a little lacking in structure, but it's full of small memorable moments - and you're sad when it's over.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Inkoo Kang
Village Voice
July 2, 2013
The Way, Way Back is a crowd-pleasing summer treat, predictable in its sweetness but satisfying all the same.
Top Critic
Sam Adams
Time Out
July 2, 2013
The film at least avoids a tidy "...and that was the summer that changed my life" wrap-up, but when what comes before the end credits feels so prefab, you might as well throw in a cribbed happy ending.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Eric Kohn
indieWIRE
July 2, 2013
Pop music montages and tear-filled spats introduce occasional flashes of emotion into the proceedings, but "The Way, Way Back" mostly just harkens back to better versions of its hackneyed plot.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
Top Critic
John DeFore
Hollywood Reporter
July 1, 2013
Despite the familiarity of this setup, Way Back is a charmer.
Top Critic
Chris Nashawaty
Entertainment Weekly
June 26, 2013
There's something slightly formulaic and familiar about Nat Faxon and Jim Rash's coming-of-age film The Way, Way Back, but not enough to dampen its crowd-pleasing charm.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
Kyle Smith
New York Post
June 5, 2013
Faxon and Rash do everything right: The characters are rich and recognizable, they expertly guide their dream cast and they even make the soundtrack part of the story, with several endearing references to 80s pop.
Top Critic
Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
June 5, 2013
Perfectly done, find-yourself-a-mentor comedies are hard to get right.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Top Critic
William Goss
Film.com
January 28, 2013
Navigates a crowd-pleasing middle ground between the mopey introspection of Adventureland and the raucous summer antics of Meatballs.
Top Critic
Peter Debruge
Variety
January 22, 2013
An endearingly sweet coming-of-ager.