Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Way, Way Back

 This new comedy/drama is a critics darling. It's entertaining and enjoyable but not quite deserving of all the accolades it's received.

  It's a coming of age film filled with stereotypical characters and plot situations you've seen a thousand times. What saves it from failing is the wonderful cast working their hardest to deliver the story and entertain the audience. The film stars Toni Collette, Steve Carrell, Sam Rockwell, Allison Janney, Maya Rudolph, Rob Corddry, Amanda Peet, Liam James and AnnaSophia Robb.

  Allison Janney is very funny as the boozy sister of Mr. Carrell's character who lives next door to his summer beach house. Mr. Carrell is excellent against type as the bully boyfriend of Ms. Collette. Mr. Corddry and Ms. Peet are Mr. Carrell's close friends and Liam James is the featured character, Duncan, Ms. Collette's brooding teenager who hates her boyfriend.

  The story plays out in a beach town with one attraction, a water park run by Sam Rockwell with help from Maya Rudolph. Mr. Rockwell's character, Owen helps Duncan come into his own over the course of the summer. While Mr. Rockwell is the comic centerpiece of the film, he tries too hard to be quirky and funny. It's his least natural performance.

  Nat Faxon and Jim Rash wrote and directed the film together. They also have secondary comedic roles. The film is a nice effort, sunny and breezy like a day at the beach. But like a summer fling, it's soon forgotten and you're ready to move on.

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