This is my favorite film of the summer so far. It
entertained me and left me with a feeling of satisfaction that’s all too rare,
especially at this time of year, when Hollywood shoots off its biggest guns. The Way, Way Back is best described as a
comedy, but like many of the best films in that genre it’s rooted in truth:
honest observations about family dynamics, adolescence, dependence and
independence. I loved it.
Liam James, whom some of you will recognize from his roles on the TV series Psych and The Killing, plays a sullen 14-year-old boy whose divorced mom (Toni Collette) has dragged him and his sister to the summer home of her obnoxious boyfriend (Steve Carell) in a New England seaside community. Here he must learn to sink or swim, figuratively speaking, in an adult world that remains a mystery, populated as it is by a variety of oddballs (including Allison Janney and Rob Corddry). He finds unexpected refuge at a nearby water park that’s run with reckless abandon by a free spirit, played with charismatic, comic gusto by Sam Rockwell. Maya Rudolph is also quite good as his long-suffering assistant.
This, to me, is a perfect summer movie cocktail: funny, endearing, poignant, and true…entertainment that respects its audience. Don’t miss it.