Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Review: The Way Way Back (Jim Rash and Nat Faxon, 2013)

Jim Rash and Nat Faxon, Academy Award winners in collaboration with Alexander Payne on The Descendants, have co-written and directed this tender, summer set coming-of-age tale. Teasing an audience to reflect on their own awkward teenage years, The Way Way Back blends uplifting optimism with an accurate portrayal of youthful melancholy, intelligently capturing the confusing adolescent emotions we can all relate to. This may be facing unease with the introduction of a stranger to the family, feeling rejected by someone you thought cared for you and dealing with a lack of self-esteem.

The screenplay’s plentiful warmth and charm and the terrific ensemble – with Sam Rockwell, especially, in outstanding form – help to easily surmount any predictable outcomes one may have been expecting, despite a couple of scenes too conveniently written to register plausibly.

Fourteen-year-old Duncan (Liam James), a socially awkward boy saddened by his parents recent divorce, has been dragged along to a small seaside town for the summer. His mother Pam (Toni Collette) has an imposing new boyfriend, Trent (Steve Carrell), who has his own wild child daughter (Zo Levin) and whose summerhouse will serve as their lodging. Duncan is consistently at odds with Trent, struggles to fit in with the other kids, and finds himself removed from his mother, who spends most of her time with Trent and his friends (amongst them Allison Janney, Amanda Peet and Rob Corrdry). Though befriending Susanna (AnnaSophia Robb) the girl staying next door, Duncan’s life begins to change when he meets Owen (Rockwell), the manager of a water park called Water Wizz. Soon enough he begins to come out of his shell when he is hired as an employee.

Continue reading at Graffiti With Punctuation

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