Critic Reviews



Based on 41 critic reviews provided by
With his rapid-fire delivery and big heart, Rockwell makes Owen his version of “M*A*S*H”’s Hawkeye Pierce, but the film’s layers of well-observed truths go deeper than that.
Faxon and Rush’s screenplay doesn’t deviate too far from formula, but their sturdy direction, bolstered by handsome production values, evokes a wistful sense of carefree summers and conjures up a potent amount of simmering teenage angst beneath the frequent chuckles.
Comedy is hard all on its own, but comedy that resonates is a rare thing indeed. So it’s admirable that Rash and Faxon are continuing to head down that path they started with “The Descendants,” even if this film isn’t quite as refined.
There's something slightly formulaic and familiar about Nat Faxon and Jim Rash's coming-of-age film The Way, Way Back, but not enough to dampen its crowd-pleasing charm.
The performances and the ready supply of one-liners make this an amusing look at a new generation getting lost down memory lane.
Despite the familiarity of this setup, Way Back is a charmer, putting refreshingly little emphasis on Duncan's romantic needs and allowing family melodrama to erupt and simmer down without pat resolution.
The story of a teen desperate for a father figure who finds encouragement from a wild-and-crazy water-park employee -- rather than from the guy auditioning to be his stepdad -- can be explosively funny in parts, but overall feels pretty familiar, relying more on its cast than the material to win favor.
Small touches point to a slightly better movie hiding beneath most of the routine, particularly the respectable finale that stops just short of the clichéd resolution expected of it. On the whole, however, The Way, Way Back dances to a tune we've heard too many times before.
There are plenty of comic moments...But The Way, Way Back is very rarely laugh-out-loud funny. Unfortunately, neither is it very involving.
Slant Magazine
Praises the electric carelessness of teenage angst while depicting it as if it were ultimately no more exciting, though no less pleasant, than an hour in the wave pool.

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