Family dysfunction is a topic that we have often seen in films. “The Way, Way Back” looks at this issue from the perspective of a teenage boy, who not only has to cope with age related changes in his life but also must deal with a complete family overhaul.
Fourteen year old Duncan (Liam James) is having difficulty adjusting to his parents’ divorce, with his Dad moving in with a younger woman and his mom Pam (Toni Collette) pursuing a relationship with a cheating boyfriend named Trent (Steve Carell).
To make matters worse, Duncan has to spend summer vacation in the company of Trent and his snobby daughter Steph (Zoe Levin). Trent and Zoe’s negative attitude towards Duncan leads him to find acceptance with the employees at the Water Wizz water park. He becomes friends with the manager Owen (Sam Rockwell), who decides to hire him to work at the park. Owen’s eccentric ways encourage Duncan to step out of his shell and have more confidence in himself.
Steve Carell often plays humorous roles in films and he is definitely good at what he does. In this film, he plays a cheating boyfriend who has a chip on his shoulder and while it is different from what we expect from him, he pulls it off quite well. Sam Rockwell is what we can consider an underdog actor. He is very skilled but doesn’t get the praise that he deserves. He did a good job in this film in the role of Owen, who really winds up being Duncan’s saving grace. This film is simple yet complex in emotion. Nothing fancy, no crazy action sequences, just real life issues that many will be able to relate to.