Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Way Way Back

If you’re tired of bang-bang and juvenile humor, you should enjoy the respite provided by Co-Writers/Co-Directors Nat Faxon’s and Jim Rash’s delightful The Way Way Back.  (Note: They even act, brilliantly in small roles.)

It’s a coming-of-age story about a 12-year-old boy named Duncan (Liam James) whose mother Pam (Toni Collette) forces him to endure a summer vacation with her schmuck of a boyfriend Trent (Steve Carell) and his aloof daughter Steph (Zoe Levin) at a beach community.

According to Trent, Duncan starts the summer as a 3 out of 10.  Actually, I’d give him a 1.  But, thanks to interaction with Owen, the manager of a water park, played fabulously by Sam Rockwell and Susanna (Anna Sophia Robb) the daughter of Trent’s alcoholic neighbor Betty, also fabulously played by Allison Janney, Duncan starts to find his inner core.
I mention all these actors, as well as Maya Rudolf as Owen’s potential girlfriend Caitlin, Rob Corddry and Amanda Peet as Trent’s friends and River Alexander as Betty’s son Peter because this is one of the best ensembles you’ll find this year.  That’s thanks to Casting Director Alison Jones.  I often wonder why there is no Academy Award for Casting.  If there were, Ms. Jones would surely be a contender.

The Way Way Back is a lot of fun.  The only thing to fault it for would be the rather unfortunate title.  I give it a 4+ out of 5.

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