Film Review: THE WAY WAY BACK.

Directors/Writers: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash
Starring: Liam James, Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Sam Rockwell, Allison Janey, AnnaSophia Robb, Maya Rudolph

Sometimes it all comes down to expectations, and I had somewhat high expectations for this film. It definitely gave off that LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE vibe in the trailers, a surprise summer hit of a few years ago with several of these actors in the cast.

But did you ever see a movie where every scene seemed familiar? THE WAY WAY BACK was one of them. It relied far too heavily on your sympathy with the central character, a fourteen-year-old boy (James). And sweet though he is, it’s not enough for you to want to accompany him on his summer vacation for the next two hours.

Half of this movie seems like an afterschool special—the one where a Mom (Collette) is hooking up with the wrong guy (Carell) and the kid is helpless in his attempts to make her see him clearly. The rest in reminiscent of camp movies where a cool, although immature, older guy (Rockwell) helps a younger one gain self-confidence. Dial up MEATBALLS.

Rockwell does what he can with a clichéd character and Collette is always a staple as the rock- solid Mom, but geez, the stock situations and characters began to wear awfully quickly. Every scene at home is written only to prove what a jerk Carell is, and every scene at the water park where Duncan gets a job, is there only to prove how cool (if immature) Rockwell is.

When Duncan turns things around, you really have no idea why. Does going down a water chute really make you a man? I felt like a lot of integral scenes were missing and yet, boy I didn’t want to sit there a minute longer.

Only recommended if you have a twelve-year old in tow.