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The Way Way Back (2013)

 -  Comedy | Drama  -  26 July 2013 (USA)
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 98,262 users   Metascore: 68/100
Reviews: 194 user | 266 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.

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Cast

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

 »
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Details

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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

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

There is no back window in Trent's car 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

September
Written by Thibaut Barbillon, Nicolas Frank and Jerome Plasseraud
Performed by 1973
Courtesy of Blonde Music
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User Reviews

 
a competent dramedy!
25 January 2014 | by (Cairo, Egypt) – See all my reviews

Director debut from Oscar-winning writer-duo Nat Faxon and Jim Rash (THE DESCENDANTS 2011, 8/10), a diffident but sensitive 14-year-old boy Duncan (James) unwillingly spends the summer vacation with his mother Pam (Collette) and her new boyfriend Trent (Carell) in a beach house where he cannot fit in and is constantly under strains with the domineering Trent, coincidentally he forms a bond with Owen (Rockwell), a happy-go-lucky clerk in the local water land "Water Whizz", after clandestinely takes a part-time job there, Duncan experiences the time of his life and the dreary summer does't seem to be so unbearable.

Opens with Steve Carell drives a revamped station wagon, Collette is asleep in the passenger's seat, James sits in the way back seat facing backward, plus we foreknow a blue-chip ensemble with Rockwell, Janney, Peet, Rudolph and Robb, is it another deletable family confection like LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE (2006, 9/10)? The very first conversation between Trent and Duncan shatters this speculation, Duncan has a rough road in this summer retreat, soon it turns out his presumable step-father is not only a pathological doctrinaire, but a two-timing sleaze-bag. The discordance also arises between Duncan and Pam, a typical miscommunication between a mother and her teenage son, Pam is an escapist seeks for protection under the roof of a marriage and is willingly to blindly ignore any snags on her way, but Duncan is a disgruntled son never understand why she cannot find someone better.

Supporting players galore, Duncan gets closer with Susanna (Robb), the next-door girl whose mother Betty (Janney) is a vexing garrulous boozehound, the amiable attachment between Duncan and Susanna is handled with care, realistic and never go overboard. Amanda Peet is perpetually underused as the third wheel old flame and Steve Carell assumes the villain role with dead seriousness with Zoe Levin as his haughty daughter, a bad exemplar of the ugly facet of our young generation. Collette accomplishes the duck soup with tangible nuances as a mother stuck in a morass.

But the most enthralling and funny part of the film is certainly located in Water Whizz, Rockwell is at the top his game with almost ad lib ambidexterity of spontaneity and sincerity, it is not so often to watch him engage in an otherwise mono-layer character, he is so ready for more awards recognition. Rash and Naxon also participate in the film and generate laughters as two buffoonish co-workers.

The film comes to the end as nothing ever happened, the hurtful truth, the unpleasant kerfuffle, Duncan has found his happy place but has to move on, however the positive message spreads from the very last scene renders viewers a firm conviction, life sucks, nevertheless, we can progress, even with baby steps.


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