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232 user 283 critic

The Way Way Back (2013)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama | 26 July 2013 (USA)
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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:

Nat Faxon, Jim Rash

Writers:

Nat Faxon, Jim Rash
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Popularity
2,148 ( 697)
5 wins & 30 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Steve Carell ... Trent
Toni Collette ... Pam
Allison Janney ... Betty
AnnaSophia Robb ... Susanna
Sam Rockwell ... Owen
Maya Rudolph ... Caitlin
Liam James ... Duncan
Rob Corddry ... Kip
Amanda Peet ... Joan
River Alexander ... Peter
Zoe Levin ... Steph
Nat Faxon ... Roddy
Jim Rash ... Lewis
Adam Riegler Adam Riegler ... Neil
Jeremy Weaver 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:

Everybody has a summer that changes their life. See more »

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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 July 2013 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Way, Way Back See more »

Filming Locations:

Marshfield, Massachusetts, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$552,788, 7 July 2013, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$21,501,098, 15 November 2013
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bad weather forced the crew to shoot interior scenes first, which involved Nat Faxon and Jim Rash as performers, making their directorial debut in front of the camera, not behind it. See more »

Goofs

When Duncan meets Owen, Owen is in the middle of a game of Pac-Man on Level 1. He says he's never made it to Level 2. When we see the screen a number of dots and one of the power-pellets are missing. When Duncan loses Owen's last life, still on Level 1, the screen shows an earlier point in the game. See more »

Quotes

Pam: Where were you Duncan?
Duncan: Nowhere.
Pam: That's a long time to be nowhere?
Duncan: Well that's where I was!
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #21.193 (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Apathy Junky
Written by Aaron Lee Tasjan
Performed by Enemies
Courtesy of First Of Three Records
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User Reviews

 
Don't miss this one
17 June 2013 | by djp2000See all my reviews

There are some movies which sound so simple that it's hard to convey to people just how good they are. The Way, Way Back is one of those movies. It's simply a coming-of-age story about a 14-year-old boy over the course of his summer break. There are no big action scenes or special effects here, just really good writing with actors who can bring such a realistic story to life.

The movie begins with the boy, Duncan, riding in a car with his family to his mother's boyfriend's beach house. As the mother sleeps in the passenger seat, the boyfriend asks Duncan to rate himself on a scale of 1 to 10. After replying with a 6, the boyfriend insists that he's just a 3. What's surprising is that this seemingly heartless guy that the mother is dating is played by Steve Carell. Carell is known for playing lovable and funny characters. But he switches it up with this role. That scene sets the tone for how little Duncan is looking forward to this summer trip. And it doesn't help that his mother doesn't really set her boyfriend straight even when she is awake.

To escape the annoyances at his new temporary home, Duncan takes a bike to ride around town with. When he finds a way into the local water park, he meets one of the middle-aged operators there named Owen. Duncan seems fascinated by Owen (played by Sam Rockwell) and how he uses humor in almost everything he says. It seems like he's never met anyone like him who's so worry-free and exudes such confidence all the time. (Sam Rockwell is perfect at playing this care-free kind of man-child.) Owen manages to get Duncan a job at the park where he tries to instill some of that same confidence in him as well. It becomes clear that as they bond with each other, Duncan wishes this would be the kind of guy his mother would date instead. The job at the water park also opens up a whole new fun side that this 14-year-old kid didn't even know he had in him.

If not for the occasional Google or iPad reference, this movie could easily have taken place in the 1980's. The setting as well as the way people dress and talk to each other is right out of an 80's film - is it a coincidence that all of the music played in the movie is from that era? There's a very natural and wholesome vibe to it, especially in the water park scenes - nothing looks too modern or high-tech; it's just a place where people go to have an old-fashioned good time. While Steve Carell may be the most popular name on the poster, the movie has a great cast altogether. Toni Collette (The Sixth Sense, Little Miss Sunshine), in particular, does an amazing job as the mother torn between defending her son and trying to make things work with the arrogant boyfriend who doesn't always treat them right. But it's the scenes between Duncan and his new older friend Owen that are the heart of the movie. Sometimes it just takes the right person to bring out someone else's true colors and help them be comfortable in their own skin. And sometimes it takes the right movie to make you feel like a kid again. This one will have you yearning for the days when things were a little simpler.


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