Without question Steve Carell is one of the most bankable stars working right now and unquestionably one of the most loved. He has a knack for playing the good guy and drawing you in. That is, until his latest role as Trent in The Way Way Back. Carell’s character is the overbearing boyfriend of Duncan’s mother. Duncan is a 14 year who is a bit of an outcast and feels no connection with Trent. Forced to go on a “family” vacation, Duncan is in complete misery and feels alone that is until he meets Owen, the carefree manager of the local water park. It’s only after meeting Owen that Duncan begins breaking out of his shell and begins enjoying his vacation. He gains a new found confidence and begins using it.
With a host of great characters and fantastic acting from Carell himself to Sam Rockwell as Owen and Allison Janney as the single mother and boozing good time neighbor. The character development is near perfection in the script by co-writers and co-directors Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, both who also have roles in the movie. This has been a passion project of theirs for many years and it without question has come off as good as anyone could expect.
The phrases “coming of age” and “feel good” movies tend to get haphazardly thrown around a lot when talking of enjoyable movies, but I have to use the term feel good movie as part of my description because it unquestionably makes you feel wonderful as the credits begin to roll.
The cast is one that is one of those rare gems where the chemistry is unparalleled and the closeness comes though the screen to you. The cast all lived in the little town where it was shot. Allison Janney described the making of this film as “a summer vacation in itself”. Sam Rockwell has long ben a great actor but all his talents are on display in this film and high talents they truly are.
As previously mentioned, Steve Carell is more known for being lovable and relatable but he once again refuses to be type cast and does a complete 180 degree turn as the jerk Trent.
Allison Janney’s comedy talents are on full display and she is firing on all cylinders. Her character is one who is lost trying to raise kids while deeply hurt by not having a love and channels all that into her sarcasm and drinking but you don’t feel sorry for her completely, you really do love her and want the best for her.
The Way Way Back has something in it everyone will identify with in some manner. It’s a heartwarming story that will have you laughing as loud as you can and smiling and if you theater is anything like ours was, everyone will be cheering at the end. Every know and then we come across movies that as soon as they end you want to turned around and experience it all over again, right away. This is one of those movies. It’s really one of the best of the year so far.