The Way, Way Back (2013) ****

The Way, Way Back is a likeable coming-of-age story, written and directed by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash. Though the storyline is quite predictable and the plot suffers from occasional holes, at least when it comes to some of the characters' motivation, the film as a whole does a decent job indulging the audience in splashy summer fun. Liam James, in the main role, reminded me of the character of Napoleon Dynamite going to the beach. Steve Carell, in an atypical part, effectively portrays an unpleasant boyfriend of the main character's mom. But stealing the show is, without doubt, Sam Rockwell, playing the manager of the Water Wizz water park, delivering punch lines of fine humor with impeccable precision. Rockwell is what elevates this otherwise mediocre drama-comedy a significant notch up.
Among the many action-laden, special-effects heavy, comic-inspired films playing this summer, The Way, Way Back is a welcomed relief. Go with very little expectations and enjoy the bumpty ride.