Monday, May 13, 2013

The Way, Way Back is the Way Forward in This Coming-of-Age Movie

Last week I got a pair of free tickets to see this movie The Way, Way Back, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival early this year and is due to be released in U.S. movie theaters on July 5. The cast was what first drew me to seeing this film:

As you can see from the movie poster, the cast includes the likes of Steve Carrell, Toni Colette, Sam Rockwell, Maya Rudolph and Amanda Peet.

When my friend and I got to the screening, we were told that our phones would be confiscated for the duration of the movie. Worried that her sparkly iPhone would be lost among the myriad of other iPhones collected, we both dutifully made our way back to the parking garage to dump our phones into the trunk/boot of her car. By the time we got back, all the good seats were taken and we ended up in the first two rows. I am not sure if it affected how I felt about the movie, but I hope not.

I won't go much into the details of the story here, but I found the plot pretty contrived and the script rather hokey. I don't usually have many laugh-out-loud moments whenever I go see a movie, but the movie actually manage to startle a few out of me, so overall I'd say the movie was somewhat worth watching.

As for the cast, Liam James is alright as the 14-year old Duncan, but it is unfortunate that Steve Carrell's character Trent never manages to rise above that of a very one-dimensional philandering jerk. while Toni Colette does a decent job channeling Duncan's exasperated mother Pam, it is Sam Rockwell's character Owen who steals almost all the scenes he is in, even when the lines he has to spew in the film aren't all that great.

If you enjoyed the 2009 movie Adventureland starring Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart, a similar coming-of-age story set along the confines of a summer stint job in an amusement park, and am interested to see another movie like it, I'd say go for it. Otherwise, you would do better to check out the summer blockbuster movies that will be out the same time this movie is. 3 out of 5 stars for me.

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