The Way Way Back (2013)

Jim Rash and Nat Faxon’s directional debut is another summer coming-of-age movie I enjoyed this year, the first being The Kings of Summer.

Duncan (Liam James) is a shy fourteen year-old who’s forced to go on summer vacation with his mother (Toni Colette), her boyfriend (Steve Carell) and his daughter (Zoe Levin). The boyfriend is a total douche and he and Duncan don’t go along at all. The kid hates it there, up until he discovers Water Wizz and meets Owen (Sam Rockwell).

The Way Way Back isn’t the funniest movie of the year but it is fun, funny and delightful. With a little more effort, Jim Rash and Nat Faxon may actually have a future in this. However, for a comedy, they introduced avoidable drama that made the movie a little less entertaining. Also, they tried to fit many stories in one movie it ended up being underdeveloped on many levels:  Pam and Trent’s relationship (which should’ve been completely out of the picture), Duncan and Susanna’s romance (which could’ve been way nicer) and Duncan’s time at Water Wizz (which could’ve been more entertaining). In fact that’s what I liked about The Kings of Summer, it was drama free and it dealt with a simple story, thus turned out to be a light movie you can watch again and again. So if The Way Way Back didn’t have these two flaws, it could have been way better and it would have actually lingered on for a while. But of course, it had a lot of good elements: the decent overall performance that fit the movie’s needs, a delightful concept, and Sam Rockwell’s character and performance. He was the best thing about the movie.

Although the movie’s flawed and may not be among the funniest movies of the year, I still enjoyed and it managed to be rather good. I’ll be waiting for more Jim Rash and Nat Faxon work.

Rating: 7.5/10. Flawed but delightful and funny nonetheless.


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