Shy 14-year-old Duncan goes on summer vacation with his mother, her overbearing boyfriend, and her boyfriend's daughter. Having a rough time fitting in, Duncan finds an unexpected friend in Owen, manager of the Water Wizz water park.
A day-dreamer escapes his anonymous life by disappearing into a world of fantasies filled with heroism, romance and action. When his job along with that of his co-worker are threatened, he takes action in the real world embarking on a global journey that turns into an adventure more extraordinary than anything he could have ever imagined.
Duncan (Liam James) is not a popular kid and it doesn't look like the summer is going to offer anything better for him. His mother's boyfriend has invited them to his beach house where Duncan is expected to improve his personality and physical appearance, and meet girls. But his would-be step-sister doesn't want anything to do with him and his shy demeanor makes it difficult for him to meet anybody new. When Duncan wanders into the Water Wizz, the local water park, he meets adult employees who are just having fun. Owen (Sam Rockwell) lets Duncan work with him and their new-found bond will help each other mature and find their place in life. Which for Duncan means standing up to his would-be step-father, having a conversation with the girl next door and being more comfortable with who he is. Written by
The script was written in 2007 as "The Way Back", but the title was later changed to avoid confusion with the film The Way Back (2010). The title refers to the "way back seat," the 1970s colloquial expression for the third, often-hidden seat located in the cargo section of a station wagon. See more »
Microphone visible inside Owen's shirt when he and Duncan are on top of slide. See more »
Duncan! On a scale of 1 to 10, what do you think you are?
I think you're a 3! Since I've been dating your mom, I don't see you putting yourself out there bud! You could try getting that score up at my beach house this summer!
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Earnest, Relateable and Endearing - We've All Been Here Before
A sweet, funny, earnest coming-of-age dramedy that plays out like a period piece, even though it's set in the present day. Tempering a plucky spirit and subtle, pointed sense of humor with an introverted lead character and a familiar, bittersweet atmosphere, it's a spiritual successor to the John Hughes golden age of the mid-80s. Liam James is beautifully awkward as the quiet, brooding young teenager at the story's epicenter, aided by a thoroughly deep, entertaining supporting cast. No matter how minor, every character enjoys a purpose and a motivation, enriching the scenery and tickling the viewer's curiosity with a tangle of warm, colorful subplots. Steve Carell will get plenty of attention in his unexpected turn as the boy's self-centered douchebag stand-in father, but Sam Rockwell's deeper-than-he-seems burnout splash park manager is the real show stealer. A strong, heartfelt and meaningful return visit to adolescence for anyone who's ever felt out-of-place in their own skin.
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