The Way Way Back – movie review

If you missed this comedy when it came out in July 2013, it is worth seeing on-line or via DVD. It is the story of a 14 year old boy Duncan (played by Liam James) who has to endure going on a summer vacation with his divorced mother and her new boyfriend (played by Steve Carell).

Steve Carell is noted for playing very likable characters such as his roles in “Date Night” and the T.V. show “The Office”. That’s why it will come as a shock to see him as a character who is basically  nasty with no redeeming features.

The movie accurately captures the overwhelming awkwardness of the average 14 year old boy. Too many comedies about high school students show them as completely self-assured and suave. Duncan, on the other hand is shy, tongue tied around girls, and easily embarrassed.  In one scene they all go out on Carell’s boat and Duncan is forced to be the only one to wear a life jacket which is mortifying for someone trying to look cool for the girls.

Duncan eventually gets a job at a local water park with the double entendre name “Water Wizz”.  The laid-back manager (played excellently by Sam Rockwell) takes him under his wing and together with the other park employees is able to change Duncan’s way of feeling about himself.

This is a feel good movie that will leave you with a smile, while also making you remember that the days of being a teenager weren’t really all that great.

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