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The Way Way Back (2013)

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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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2,845 ( 102)
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:

We've All Been There. 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 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

Steve Carell initially turned the movie down because he and his family go on vacation to his home state (Massachusetts) every Summer. However it was later discovered that the location of the film shoot was a short drive away from where Carell and his family vacationed, therefore he was able to accept the role. See more »

Goofs

When Owen talks about entering Duncan's name on the leaderboard, Duncan mentions you can only enter three letters of a name per score. In reality, Pac-Man doesn't let you enter a name on a leaderboard, only saving the high score with no leaderboard either. See more »

Quotes

Duncan: I wish I could stay here forever.
Owen: You're going to love the winters. They're pretty spectacular. Painting houses until it gets too cold, bar backing at some dive, talking to inanimate objects.
Duncan: I'm serious.
Owen: Yeah, so am I. There's a whole world out there for you, Duncan. Don't settle. Not yet.
See more »

Connections

References Footloose (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Running Wild
Written by Justin Kennedy, Louie Schultz and Douglas Randall
Performed by Army Navy
Courtesy of The Fever Zone
By arrangement with Bank Robber Music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Water Wizzdom
7 July 2013 | by David FergusonSee all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. OK, before you accuse me of being the world's worst speller, you should know that my title "Water Wizzdom" is a play on words ... the waterpark in the film is known as Water Wizz and Sam Rockwell plays Owen, the man-child mentor to Liam James' Duncan. Duncan is a miserable 14 year old stuck in a beach house with his mom, her obnoxious boyfriend, and his snobby daughter.

Steve Carell plays Trent, the condescending and bullying boyfriend who has no redeeming qualities that we can see (other than the beach house and a nice tan). Duncan's mom is played by Toni Collette, and her character Pam is a divorced, insecure single mom trying to balance her own happiness with that of her teen-angst-filled son. Pam and Duncan are the outsiders in this beach community as we quickly learn when next door neighbor Betty (Allison Janney) shows up with drink in hand and gossip for all.

The well worn movie signs are all here ... we recognize the characters and their struggles, in fact, we all know someone like each of the people that co-writers and co-directors Nat Faxon and Jim Rash present to us. We understand quickly that this is yet another coming-of-age tale with mostly clueless adults. Despite that, this one still mostly works. The writing and acting are such high quality that even though we are living in movie cliché-land, we still find ourselves caring about Duncan and Pam, laughing at Owen, and tossing tomatoes at Trent (Carell).

Special recognition to Sam Rockwell. Even though Duncan is the key character, it's Rockwell's Owen who recognizes that a little faith and encouragement goes a long way. Behind the facade of rapid-fire banter and laugh-inducing one-liners, Owen is coming to grips with a life of reality and shattered dreams. While never stooping to the typical Hollywood "win one for the Gipper" speech, Owen manages to instill a bit of confidence in Duncan ... to the point where he refuses to let his mother pretend everything is OK with Trent.

AnnaSophia Robb plays the cute girl-next-door who recognizes potential in Duncan, but the filmmakers never allow this to turn into some ridiculous fairy tale. Instead we get characters who are each flawed, but real and recognizable. While all the typical pieces are present, there is enough crackle to the dialogue and quality acting to help this one rise above the usual muck. It's a nice "little" alternative to the giant summer blockbusters. Nat Faxon and Jim Rash won an Oscar for co-writing The Descendants with Alexander Payne. In their directorial debut, they prove that they also have skills as filmmakers. The next one could be even better!


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