The Way, Way Back

Metascore
68

Generally favorable reviews - based on 41 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 41
  2. Negative: 1 out of 41

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Jul 4, 2013
    60
    The Way, Way Back has the charm of timelessness but also more than a touch of triteness. Its situations and feelings seem drawn more from available, sentimental ideas about adolescence than from the perceptions of any particular adolescent.
  2. Reviewed by: Staff [Not Credited]
    Jul 2, 2013
    60
    The Way, Way Back is a crowd-pleasing summer treat, predictable in its sweetness but satisfying all the same.
  3. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Feb 26, 2013
    60
    The story of a teen desperate for a father figure who finds encouragement from a wild-and-crazy water-park employee -- rather than from the guy auditioning to be his stepdad -- can be explosively funny in parts, but overall feels pretty familiar, relying more on its cast than the material to win favor.
  4. Reviewed by: A.A. Dowd
    Jul 3, 2013
    58
    Just about everyone and everything in The Way, Way Back feels programmed, as though the film were written using Mad Libs.
  5. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Feb 26, 2013
    58
    Small touches point to a slightly better movie hiding beneath most of the routine, particularly the respectable finale that stops just short of the clichéd resolution expected of it. On the whole, however, The Way, Way Back dances to a tune we've heard too many times before.
  6. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Jul 18, 2013
    50
    The coming-of-age tale The Way, Way Back is sweet, heartfelt and utterly trite and predictable from beginning to end.
  7. Reviewed by: Steve Davis
    Jul 10, 2013
    50
    That’s the central problem with The Way, Way Back – it’s more manipulative than truthful.
  8. 50
    The story doesn’t feel dramatized. It feels pitched.
  9. 50
    Like "Little Miss Sunshine," the movie stars Toni Collette and Steve Carell in a story about a dysfunctional family trip, though like "Adventureland," it’s really about a teenager finding acceptance at a local theme park.
  10. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Jul 10, 2013
    40
    There’s a potentially compelling story here about children of divorce and the tentative ways they set about forging their own relationships, but the filmmaking is too rudimentary to draw it out subtly.
  11. Reviewed by: Sam Adams
    Jul 2, 2013
    40
    Even by adolescence-is-hell standards, this poor sap is the embodiment of how ugly the so-called wonder years can be for some — a painful notion that’s as close as Faxon and Rash’s directorial debut comes to evoking an emotional response that hasn’t been sifted through dozens of nigh-identical films.
  12. Reviewed by: Damon Wise
    Feb 26, 2013
    40
    There are plenty of comic moments...But The Way, Way Back is very rarely laugh-out-loud funny. Unfortunately, neither is it very involving.
User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 184 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 38
  2. Negative: 1 out of 38
  1. Dec 4, 2013
    9
    Some movies are just meant to tell a little story and not be some big deal. That's all this was and it succeeded. If you can't relate toSome movies are just meant to tell a little story and not be some big deal. That's all this was and it succeeded. If you can't relate to someone in this movie, well you live a nice life. OK, I would have given this an 8, but honest to dog, it made me cry a little. That never happens. Even the hokey predictable ending was satisfying. The story didn't spin off into some complex plot, it just moved along character-driven, illustrating the pitfalls of blending families. It's the first time I enjoyed Carell, he was believable for a change. I was so happy the kid met Rockwell, everyone needs an adult who isn't a parent. Full Review »
  2. Aug 30, 2013
    10
    So 'The Way, Way Back' was just released in England, and because I'm a huge fan of 'Little Miss Sunshine' I checked it out. I wasn'tSo 'The Way, Way Back' was just released in England, and because I'm a huge fan of 'Little Miss Sunshine' I checked it out. I wasn't disappointed. GREAT FILM! Absolutely hilarious, it found that perfect line between comedy and sad reflection, which 'Little Miss Sunshine' did so well, you can really feel the presence of the producers in this film which if you're in doubt of whether to see this film or not should reassure you.

    Acting wise the entire cast was great, I enjoyed seeing Carrell in a bad guy role, as he doesn't normally do that, essentially he is a "C U Next Tuesday" in this film, which is great, he performs the role perfectly. Sam Rockwell was brilliant. As were the rest of the cast not a single bad performance. A mesmerizing ensemble cast.

    All in all this was a great film, it is a great summer movie, I love that line where you can take a situation as either comedy or sadness, it makes the film more personal to the viewer, which this film is brilliant at. I love the way that when the film makes you sad it is always going to bring you back to being happy with hilarious scenes, dialogue and situation humor.

    INCREDIBLE FILM and a must see.
    Full Review »
  3. Jan 19, 2014
    8
    One of those feel good films that everyone can relate to in some way. You can't help but feel bad for the kid sometimes and feel so overjoyedOne of those feel good films that everyone can relate to in some way. You can't help but feel bad for the kid sometimes and feel so overjoyed when something good happens. Basically, this movie connects you emotionally to this character and the character development is marvelous. And Sam Rockwell? I want to be his friend in real life. Brilliant. Full Review »