Starring: Liam James, Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Sam Rockwell, Allison Janney, Maya Rudolph
Written and Directed by: Nat Faxton & Jim Rash
My Rating: 6.9
Worth: theater, on demand rental, and 2 hours fully paying attention
Clairometer: Holy Golightly
Take every moment when you wanted to punch Michael Scott in the jugular, add Sam Rockwell's brilliant destitute Tony Stark impression, a punch drunk Allison Janney who makes Lindsay Fünke look like mommy dearest, throw in 120 pounds of awkward teenage boy, and just a dash of hilarious "Dean-like" Jim Rash and cook over the high summer heat. This is the recipe for The Way Way Back. What does any of that mean? The film is excellent. There is a very Little Miss Sunshine feel to it. For example, The Way Way Back redefines the concept of a loving family and what it means to be accepted in one; Steve Carell plays an unexpected character; and it sheds light on the fact that adults are just as flawed as their kids.
It is rare to watch a good movie that leaves you with a (very momentary, but) happy feeling. Jim Rash and Nat Faxton's third collaboration is far superior to The Descendants. However, it probably won't win an Oscar. Aliens don't invade. The top doesn't keep spinning. The oppressed Jewish girl doesn't kill the Nazis. This film is the JC Chasez to the Justin Timberlake (music, not acting obviously - did you see Alpha Dog? Funny I didn't either). He's just as good, but something is just missing. And that something in The Way Way Back is endurance. I know in 4 years I'll be trying to remember the title of this movie and why I liked it. I suppose I can check this blog to retrieve that information. Thanks Al Gore.