Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Way, Way Back Review - 3½ Stars

“The Way Way Back” represents the best example of the coming of age movie so far this year.  Liam James captures the feel of a 14 year old teen unhappy with his lot in life, which includes a single mom, played by Toni Collette dating a guy the kid can’t stand.  Steve Carell plays against type as the unwanted boyfriend—the kind of guy who delights in bullying a 14 year old.  The plot puts the kid, his mom, and his potential step-Dad together for the summer at Steve’s beach house.  Summertime adult pals include Amanda Peet and Rob Corddry, who refer to the beach as summer camp for adults, and Alison Janey as a mostly tipsy next door neighbor. The kid finds refuge in a water park down the road, managed by Sam Rockwell who adds a great dash of fun and humor to Liam’s unhappy life.  The ending comes together in a satisfying manner–in fact,  in the way most of us want a good summer movie to conclude.  Sam Rockwell dominates this story with kindness and humor and some very funny moments.  He’s the camp counselor you wanted as a kid.  Does it deliver what it promises?  Summer coming of age comedy.  Is it entertaining?  Great fun and poignant too.  Is it worth the price of admission?  One of this summer’s small gems.