Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Way Way Back

Movie Name: The Way Way Back
Year of Release: 2013
Director: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash
Stars: Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Allison Janney, Sam Rockwell, AnnaSophia Robb, Maya Rudolph, Liam James, Robb Corddry, Amanda Peet, River Alexander, Zoe Levin, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash, Adam Riegler
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6

"The Way Way Back" is Nat Faxon and Jim Rash's debut feature - this directing team is mostly known for their acting careers, and also for winning an Oscar for the screenplay of Alexander Payne's "The Descendants". "The Way Way Back" follows the story of 14 year old Duncan, whose parents divorced and who is spending his Summer with his mom, her new partner, an obnoxious man named Trent, and Trent's self-absorbed daughter. Duncan feels isolated from everyone and finds his way to a Water Park, where he starts a friendship with the owner, a wisecracking man by the name of Owen. Duncan slowly builds friendships and starts having fun, until he realizes that Trent isn't all that he presents himself to be.
"The Way Way Back" is a coming of age story for a young man, whose parents have divorced, and who is trying to belong somewhere. Though the story itself isn't exactly something entirely surprising, the directors/writers create interesting characters that give this small film an additional quirk and interest (there are references from films such as Greg Mottola's "Adventureland" or even Chris and Paul Weitz's "About a Boy").  The film knows it has it's fair share of cliches, and tries to insert some nostalgia for the Summer Camps of the 80s, but it also has a heart and you can't help but embark on the trip with these characters. The actors are uniformly good, with Allison Janney, Maya Rudolph and Sam Rockwell creating interesting and funny characters. This is an interesting debut feature, that though not priming for originality, it has the capability of embracing a variety of characters and making us empathize with them. Worth watching.