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If you need a break from all the comic-based films this summer, check this movie out. It’s a coming-of-age film about a teenager on summer break trying to find a place where he belongs. We see the awkwardness of adolescence in this film starring Steve Carell, AnnaSophia Robb and Toni Collette. Our KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Raven Devanney (age 15) wasn’t a huge fan of the film, preferring more heady stuff but says ” it is entertaining for the time that you’re in the theater.” See her full review be

“The Way Way Back” tells the story of Duncan, played by Liam James, who is an awkward teen dealing with his mom’s boyfriend, Trent, played by Steve Carell. Trent and Duncan don’t exactly see eye to eye on most things and when the two of them are forced to spend the entire summer together, things get a bit complicated. Duncan decides to get away from his family by getting a job at the local amusement park, Water Wizz. There, he becomes friends with the manager Owen, played by Sam Rockwell, and Duncan begins to find himself with the help of his new friend.

I personally do not like this movie very much. I feel like it has nothing to special about it and the acting seems very forced, the lines are cheesy and the plot is unoriginal. All of the scenes were long with very few cuts in them which did make it feel more realistic, but it also makes the film to drawn out and boring. This film is an hour and 43 minutes and it could have been a 60 minute film. I am also bothered by the fact that there is hardly any music in this film, so when there is silence it is awkward in a non comical way.

My favorite character is Owen because I feel like Sam Rockwell is one of the only people who did their character justice. I even feel that Steve Carell is very monotonous and fake in this film, and I think he is usually a great actor. However I do like the character Owen for more than just that reason. He is very sweet to Duncan because he sees that he is having a hard time and he teaches him how to stand on his own. I also like Duncan, played by Liam James, because his character was generally very quiet and  bland in a way, and Liam does a good job portraying his character.

My favorite scene would have to be when Duncan is working his first day at Water Wizz. There is a bunch of teens break dancing in the park and Owen is supposed to break it up. Since he is such a slacker he gives Duncan this task and it is hilarious to watch him try to get the people to listen to him. It really shows how awkward he is and even though he is uncomfortable doing this task, he still does it to help out a friend.

I recommend this film for ages 13+ because there is quite a bit of mild profanities, inappropriate humor and drug usage. Overall I give “The Way Way Back’ 3 out of 5 stars because it is entertaining for the time that you’re in the theater, but it isn’t memorable or something I would see again.


Credit: KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions