At times when I hear a film referenced as a “coming of age” story, I have my doubts about the how interesting the story will be and worse, that it is predictable. In the case of The Way, Way Back, written and directed by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, I was hooked immediately after viewing the trailer earlier in the year. I am thoroughly pleased with the story and all the cast that delivers excellent performances throughout this feature film.
Duncan (Liam James) is a 14 year old suffering through life during the past year since his mother Pam (Toni Collette) has been dating Trent (Steve Carell). Of all the characters Carell has portrayed in his cinematic career, Trent is the most dislikeable and one I cannot tell you in this article the type of names I can call him. Carell is excellent in delivering such nastiness on screen, I almost forgot it was the normally likeable Carell I was viewing. It is disgusting to know someone can treat a young adolescent like that, but it is unfortunate that it does exist today.
Sam Rockwell is excellent as Owen, who somewhat runs a local water park entertainment spot in the town where Duncan is suffering through with Trent. Lucky for Duncan, Owen is a swell guy who really hasn’t grown up, thus he eagerly pals around with the young teen who he sees moping around. Rockwell is superb in his role and the viewer will like him for the difference he makes in Duncan’s life.
Writer/director/actors Faxon and Rash both have roles in their screenplay as fellow co-workers of Owen’s and they certainly bring the comedy to this film that has some of the more dramatic moments when Trent is acting stupid in the scenes.
Fellow cast member, Rob Corddry, is Kip, a friend of Trent’s, but he does not seem to have much of a personality as the husband to Joan (Amanda Peet), who slithers away with Trent right under Kip and Pam’s nose.
I look forward to viewing more of Liam James work in the future, as he does so well in this film. Enjoy this highly entertaining film at the Regal Arbor Cinema 8 at Great Hills and the Violet Crown Cinema in Austin.