MOVIEmeter
Top 500
Down 26 this week

The Way Way Back (2013)

 -  Comedy | Drama  -  26 July 2013 (USA)
7.4
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.4/10 from 86,846 users   Metascore: 68/100
Reviews: 187 user | 261 critic | 41 from Metacritic.com

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.

Directors:

,

Writers:

,
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $0.00 on Amazon Instant Video

Editors' Spotlight

IMDb: What to Watch - The One I Love

Interview with Charlie McDowell and Mark Duplass


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 47 titles
created 01 Sep 2012
 
a list of 48 titles
created 18 Feb 2013
 
a list of 31 titles
created 10 Mar 2013
 
a list of 26 titles
created 7 months ago
 
a list of 38 titles
created 5 months ago
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Way Way Back (2013)

The Way Way Back (2013) on IMDb 7.4/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Way Way Back.

User Polls

4 wins & 24 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Three teenage friends, in the ultimate act of independence, decide to spend their summer building a house in the woods and living off the land.

Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Stars: Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso, Moises Arias
Win Win (2011)
Comedy | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A struggling lawyer and volunteer wrestling coach's chicanery comes back to haunt him when the teenage grandson of the client he's double-crossed comes into his life.

Director: Thomas McCarthy
Stars: Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan, Jeffrey Tambor
Ruby Sparks (2012)
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A novelist struggling with writer's block finds romance in a most unusual way: by creating a female character he thinks will love him, then willing her into existence.

Directors: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris
Stars: Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Annette Bening
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Three magazine employees head out on an assignment to interview a guy who placed a classified ad seeking a companion for time travel.

Director: Colin Trevorrow
Stars: Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake Johnson
Enough Said (2013)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A divorced woman who decides to pursue the man she's interested in learns he's her new friend's ex-husband.

Director: Nicole Holofcener
Stars: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini, Catherine Keener
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A middle-aged husband's life changes dramatically when his wife asks him for a divorce. He seeks to rediscover his manhood with the help of a newfound friend, Jacob, learning to pick up girls at bars.

Directors: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
Stars: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore
Robot & Frank (2012)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Set in the near future, an ex-jewel thief receives a gift from his son: a robot butler programmed to look after him. But soon the two companions try their luck as a heist team.

Director: Jake Schreier
Stars: Peter Sarsgaard, Frank Langella, Susan Sarandon
Role Models (2008)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Wild behavior forces a pair of energy drink reps to enroll in a Big Brother program.

Director: David Wain
Stars: Paul Rudd, Seann William Scott, Elizabeth Banks
Adventure | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

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.

Director: Ben Stiller
Stars: Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Jon Daly
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A veteran pot dealer creates a fake family as part of his plan to move a huge shipment of weed into the U.S. from Mexico.

Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Stars: Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Emma Roberts
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own.

Director: David O. Russell
Stars: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro
Blue Jasmine (2013)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A New York socialite, deeply troubled and in denial, arrives in San Francisco to impose upon her sister. She looks a million, but isn't bringing money, peace, or love...

Director: Woody Allen
Stars: Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Peter Sarsgaard
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Pam
...
...
...
...
...
...
Kip
...
...
...
Steph
...
Roddy
...
Lewis
...
Neil
Jeremy Weaver ...
Jason
Edit

Storyline

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 napierslogs

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

We've All Been There.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, language, some sexual content and brief drug material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

26 July 2013 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Way Back  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$4,600,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$552,788 (USA) (5 July 2013)

Gross:

$21,501,098 (USA) (15 November 2013)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Shawn Levy was one of the few directors attached to the movie, but had to drop out to film Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. See more »

Goofs

In the first scene at the water park, Owen is eating a pop-tart. Throughout the scene, the amount of pop-tart eaten and the direction it is facing in his hand changes several times. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Trent: Duncan! On a scale of 1 to 10, what do you think you are?
Duncan: A 6!
Trent: 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!
See more »

Connections

References Footloose (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

Holding Out For A Hero
Written by Dean Pitchford and Jim Steinman
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A thoughtful, very funny teen flick that adults enjoy even more.
29 August 2013 | by See all my reviews

The Way Way Back is marketed as a thoughtful, funny teen flick but, though it is thoughtful, funny and co-stars a couple of teens, the younger audience members shuffled and whispered as if bored, while the belly laughs and satisfied smiles came almost entirely from the 'more mature' audience members. It's not that this is an adult film but so many references require a certain level of life experience or simply that the audience was 'there' at a particular time. Like the blank-faced children queuing for the water chute during the superb Holding out For a Hero scene, it makes little sense for those who never sang along to Bonnie Tyler but tickles the funny bones of almost everyone over the age of 35.

The Way Way Back is a gentle coming of age comedy about the world Duncan (Liam James) has been thrust into. His divorced mum, Pam (Toni Collette), has shacked up with Trent (Steve Carell), forcing Duncan to deal with the absence of his father, the domineering, judgmental disdain of Trent and the withering stares of Trent's bitchy daughter, Steph (Zoe Levin). Dragged off to Trent's summer vacation home, Duncan endures humiliation and misery until he meets Owen (Sam Rockwell), the manger of the Water Wizz water park, who approaches life in his own manner and sees in Duncan what he cannot find in himself. And then there's the girl next door, Susanna (AnnaSophia Robb), and her mum, Betty (Allison Janney)…

It takes a while for The Way Way Back to really kick in. I knew I wanted to enjoy it, and nothing really prevented that from happening, but it felt half a beat off the pace. Then, about twenty minutes in, something sparked and the investment for the first quarter became worthwhile. Just as Duncan evolves into someone a little less awkward, a little more confident than the alien he feels himself to be in his world, so The Way Way Back develops into a heartwarming tale of angst, the reality of life and second chances. And it steps beyond 'quietly amusing' into 'very funny'.

The principal reasons The Way Way Back works are Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, the partnership that won an Oscar for writing The Descendants and have earned themselves loyal fan bases individually as actors, Rash particularly as Dean Pelton in Community. While The Way Way Back doesn't quite have the edge of The Descendants, it is still a tender, thoughtful visitor that carries a hidden knife to jab into your ribs when required. For anyone who couldn't wait to leave home and adolescence far behind and found exciting possibilities in their summer jobs, this is a film with enough references to make you smile and belly laugh in solidarity and complete understanding.

At the centre of The Way Way Back is James' Duncan. It's not a star-making performance that tugs at us like, say, Paul Dano's Dwayne in the supreme Little Miss Sunshine (which also starred Carell and Collette) but his character development is steady rather than breathtaking and we buy into him. He's odd but we like him because of that. This is no 'ugly duckling turning beautiful' hogwash but a considered performance from an actor who has inhabited his on-screen persona completely.

Collette is on fairly safe territory here as the mixed-up mum who is holding it together and hoping for the best but papering over the cracks with tissue. As her boyfriend, however, Carell is on superb form. There are many expletives and mild obscenities one could use to describe Trent but Carell avoids the pitfalls of making him purely evil. Trent isn't so much cruel as quietly unpleasant. Perhaps he even believes he is genuinely helping when he asks Duncan, "On a scale of one to ten, what do you think you are?" before crushing the teenager with his own damning, contrary assessment of him. This is a Carell we are rarely allowed to see but I sincerely hope he extends his range and gives us the dark side more often.

Rockwell is at his best here. Forget the overcooked oddball of Seven Psychopaths, he is on sincere form as the man who has never quite left his own youth and understands what really matters more than any of the other adults around Duncan. Rockwell has proved to be a versatile actor (compare his turns in Welcome to Collinwood, The Green Mile and Matchstick Men for a start) who adds a quirky tangent to most films. His Owen is not simply played for laughs but with honesty and sincerity.

On the periphery are some solid and amusing supporting performances from the likes of Rob Corddry and Amanda Peet as the neighbours, Kip and Joan, and Janney as the lush next door, but scenes are stolen frequently by Rash as the camp, dour Lewis, an kiosk attendant with no customers and no escape. Brilliant! The Way Way Back is far from perfect but, after the initial lacklustre, I enjoyed it immensely and laughed aloud. If you heeded my advice and enjoyed last year's Safety Not Guaranteed, add this to your viewing list. It's not quite a gem but it's worth taking a chance on a movie that flies because of some very, very funny delivery of superbly written dialogue.

For more reviews from The Squiss, subscribe to my blog and like the Facebook page.


30 of 40 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Objectification of women? goo-goo-ga-ga
Why is the job a secret? jdlexus
LOVED IT ajl41994
homoeroticism anyone? gab-casnu
Can you list some movies like this??? wercide
Yikes! Steve Carrell plays a good dick, or he really is one..... WickedMMGirl
Discuss The Way Way Back (2013) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?