Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Way Way Back

This morning I saw The Way Way Back, starring Liam James and Toni Collette.

Duncan (James) is a socially awkward teenager on summer break with his mother Pam (Collette) and her jerk-of-a-boyfriend Trent (Steve Carell). They land in a sleepy beach town where Trent has a community of colorful friends.

Not wanting to have any part of 'family time,' Duncan escapes to the nearby water park where Owen (Sam Rockwell) gives him a job, and more importantly, a sense of place. Owen is a misfit in his own right, annoying his colleague/girlfriend Caitlin with his immature behavior. Owen and Duncan make each other better.

Rockwell is especially good, portraying a fun-on-the-outside, yet broken-on-the-inside man. As an actor, Rockwell is criminally underutilized, but here at least, he gets to support the leads with some depth.

James is also great as the nerdy boy, loved by his mother who is too preoccupied with her own relationship to show it. Collette and Carell, who played a very different couple in Little Miss Sunshine, have a familiar chemistry that allows them to convince us of both their infatuation and discomfort.

There's not much more to this film than the standard coming-of-age argument scenes, awkward family moments and kinda-sorta first loves, but that's okay, because it's so easy to watch.


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