The Way, Way, Back stars Liam James as Duncan, a young, quiet teen grappling with identity issues and lacking a strong sense of self. To his detriment, his mother Pam (Toni Collette) is in a semi-serious relationship with Trent (Steve Carell). Yes, this time around, Steve Carell basically plays a jerk. Trent lacks a strong sense of self, like Duncan, but as an adult, he uses his status to talk down to Duncan and pretty much everyone around him. Despite Duncan’s lack of enthusiasm on the matter, he, his mom, sister, and Trent head down to Trent’s beach house for a hopeful summer of relaxation and fun.
During the summer, a lively supporting cast of neighbors come in and out of their lives, including Allison Janney, Rob Corddry, and Amanda Peet. With all the commotion going on, it doesn’t take long for cracks to appear in this family unit. Duncan explores the town in an effort to escape it all, and he finds solace in the form of an amusement park. At the park he meets Owen, (Sam Rockwell, The Green Mile, Moon, Iron Man 2), a career park employee. Owen is a free spirit. He’s a mixture of lazy and inspiring. He embraces his life and encourages Duncan to do the same. Most importantly, he sees so much potential in Duncan, and he supports him in a way his pseudo-father-figure Trent never has.
The Way, Way Back was written and directed by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, the duo who won an Oscar for penning 2011’s The Descendants (along with Alexander Payne). Both Faxon and Rash are character actors, and they lend the amusement park some additional wit and charm with small supporting roles, along with Maya Rudolph (SNL, Bridesmaids). In essence, The Way, Way Back is charming and reminiscent of indie dramedies like Little Miss Sunshine. It’s a character-driven flick with several enjoyable performances that’s worth a watch if you’re looking for an indie-inspired film to see this summer!
The Way, Way Back is scheduled for release on July 5th.