The Way Way Back

The Way Way Back

Nat Faxon (2013)

12 Certificate


Our Score
Admirers of the 2006 indie breakout hit Little Miss Sunshine will get more than a hint of déjà vu from this melancholy coming-of-age comedy, which not only borrows the family-on-a-trip story but also two core cast members (Steve Carell and Toni Collette) in strikingly similar roles. This time the lead character is a teenage boy (Liam James) being taken on a seaside holiday by his ditzy mother (Collette) and her resentful boyfriend (Carell). Unable to fit in with his teen peer group, Duncan becomes a regular at the Water Wizz theme park, where he strikes up an unlikely friendship with its maverick manager Owen. Sam Rockwell gives it his best shot as the eccentric but ultimately reliable Owen, but whenever he's not on screen, the movie sinks into a torpor. Carell's spiteful asides are darkly funny on occasion but, tonally, they stand out like a sore thumb in a film that otherwise feels like a decade of bittersweet US indie comedy mashed down into an hour and 45 minutes.


An introverted teenager joins his mother and her overbearing boyfriend on an awkward family holiday. He befriends a free-spirited employee at the nearby water park, and the relationship inspires him to assert his independence for the first time. Comedy drama, starring Liam James, Sam Rockwell, Steve Carell, Toni Collette and Allison Janney.

Cast & Crew

Duncan Liam James
Owen Sam Rockwell
Trent Steve Carell
Pam Toni Collette
Betty Allison Janney
Susanna AnnaSophia Robb
Caitlin Maya Rudolph
Joan Amanda Peet
Director Nat Faxon
Director Jim Rash
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: 20th Century Fox
Drama Comedy