It has been a while since I conciously sat in a movie and thought ‘I really really don’t want this to end’. But that was exactly what I was thinking last weekend when I saw The Way Way Back. So yeah, I guess you can say I kinda liked it 😉 This is that most rare of things these days – a completely new script, based not on a book or a comic or a theme park ride, and it isn’t a sequel to anything. How refreshing.
This flick tells the story of Duncan, a slightly introverted teen who gets dragged to his mum’s new boyfriend’s beach house for the summer vacation. Not the worst place in the world to be – but it is when said potential step father is a complete douche bag (played by Steve Carell in a nice departure from type for him). Duncan seeks refuge at a local water park, where he is befriended and then employed by manager-but-general-layabout Sam Rockwell (being Sam Rockwell, but we love him so it’s ok). Duncan starts to come into his own with some new friends and a new place to hang out, but still has to deal with the dramas at home – which are exascerbated when the adults decide to treat their holiday like Spring Break and he is forced to deal with adult issues way above his pay grade.
The cast here is top notch. As well as those mentioned above we have Allison Janney as an eccentric and hilarious neighbour, Amanda Peet and Rob Corrdry as a not so happily married couple, Maya Rudolph as Rockwell’s girlfriend – and also writers Nat Faxon and Jim Rash as workers at the water park. Oh, and did I mention Toni Collette as Duncan’s mum? Yeah, the only thing I could complain about really here was that with so many talented people I didn’t get to spend as much time with each of them as I would have liked. But if that is all I can complain about with a film then it’s a bloody good film.
Nat Faxon and Jim Rash wrote and directed this – coming off the back of winning an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Descendants. Here, as they did there, they manage to balance comedy and drama in a truly masterful fashion. Although this movie deals with some serious issues and could easily have slipped into melodrama it never does. And the comedy isn’t fart jokes and innuendo – it is of the smarter, banter-like variety – and I loved it. I for one can’t wait to see what this duo come up with next.
I would recommend this for anyone. It gets a solid 4 multi-coloured M&Ms for me. Go see it. I dare ya.
Honorable Mention: I am not going to give this one a full review, as it is the kind of movie it is better you know less about before going in. Now You See Me tells the story of a group of magicians – Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco and Woody Harrelson – who rob banks during their shows, and give the money to audience. Mark Ruffalo plays the detective trying to work out how they did it. And that’s pretty much all you need to know. It’s a really fun and unexpected film – and you will have lots to chat about afterwards. And that’s all I can say without giving anything away. 3 and a half M&Ms from me.