is a coming of age story. Duncan (Liam James) is dragged to the Jersey Shore by his mother Pam (Toni Colette) with her boyfriend Trent (Steve Carell) and Duncan’s sister (Zoe Levin). Trent is not an active kid. Trent wants to train him to be strong and this is the reason why he has been tough on Duncan.
Duncan doesn’t want to stay in Trent’s beach house. He wanders off until he chances upon a water park. The staff is composed of goofballs and it has its own charms even though it already slightly rundown. The staff leader Owen (Sam Rockwell) offers Duncan a job even if he is not looking for one. Owen takes Duncan under his wing and teaches him the ways of running a water park.
Writer/directors Jim Rash and Nat Raxon already have an Oscar for their work in The Descendants. They made The Way, Way Back based on their own personal experiences. The movie features some fateful encounters that make us who we are.
Steve Carell is perfect as a guy who seems confident on the outside but not as much in the inside. Maya Rudolph plays Owen’s boss. She slowly reveals layers of her character as the movie progresses. The other supporting cast members, such as AnnaSophia Robb, Rob Corddry, Amanda Peet and Allison Janney, also give good performances. Janney plays Trent’s sexually repressed neighbor with a socially deprived son, Peter (River Alexander). Their mother-son interactions provide some of the lighter moments in the movie.
Liam James is the ideal actor to play Duncan. His chemistry with Rockwell is not forced. They make you want to dive in the pool with them. The ending is heartfelt and satisfying to say the least. The Way, Way Back is full of good vibes and a must see for everyone.