‘The Way, Way Back,’ From Nat Faxon and Jim Rash

July 4, 2013 12:01 PM

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‘The Way, Way Back,’ From Nat Faxon and Jim Rash

In addition to that vintage car, there are a battered water park and an antique Pac-Man machine, at the controls of which Duncan meets Owen (Sam Rockwell), who will become his mentor and confidant. Owen, who manages the park, is the more sympathetic of the two surrogate fathers who dominate Duncan’s days and fight, implicitly, for his young soul. The bad dad is Trent (Steve Carell), the owner of the station wagon and the rambling beach house where Duncan and his mother, Pam (Toni Collette), Trent’s girlfriend, are spending their vacation.

Part of the charm of beach towns is that they change relatively slowly, so it is easy enough, as I suspect the filmmakers have done, to peel back the years and find your own experiences in Duncan’s. “The Way, Way Back” has the charm of timelessness but also more than a touch of triteness. Its situat...

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