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Generally favorable reviews - based on 41 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 173 Ratings

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 41
  2. Negative: 1 out of 41
  1. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Jul 17, 2013
    100
    The jokes are often double-edged, the performances always spot-on. The Way, Way Back doesn't re-invent the teenage turning point genre, but Faxon and Rash offer a breezy new spin. You'll see more inventive movies this year but few more endearing.
  2. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Jul 8, 2013
    88
    The Way Way Back gets it wittily, thrillingly right. It turns the familiar into something bracingly fresh and funny. It makes you laugh, then breaks your heart.
  3. Reviewed by: James Mottram
    Aug 24, 2013
    80
    If the Collette/Carell reunion suggests Little Miss Sunshine, it’s not quite that crowd-pleasing. But, crafted with much TLC and sympathy, it’s perfectly tailored to the tongue-tied teen in us all.
  4. 75
    The performances and the ready supply of one-liners make this an amusing look at a new generation getting lost down memory lane.
  5. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    Feb 26, 2013
    70
    Despite the familiarity of this setup, Way Back is a charmer, putting refreshingly little emphasis on Duncan's romantic needs and allowing family melodrama to erupt and simmer down without pat resolution.
  6. 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.
  7. Reviewed by: Chris Cabin
    Jun 29, 2013
    38
    Praises the electric carelessness of teenage angst while depicting it as if it were ultimately no more exciting, though no less pleasant, than an hour in the wave pool.

See all 41 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 37
  2. Negative: 1 out of 37
  1. 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.
    Expand
  2. Dec 28, 2013
    10
    Every performance in the film is perfect, particularly Sam Rockwell's hilarious turn as the water park manager. Rockwell is reason enough toEvery performance in the film is perfect, particularly Sam Rockwell's hilarious turn as the water park manager. Rockwell is reason enough to see the film, and shouldn't be forgotten come awards time. Expand
  3. 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.
    Expand
  4. Nov 7, 2013
    9
    I really enjoyed this coming-of-age story. While the story of an awkward teenager coming out of his shell thanks to the wisdom of a glorifiedI really enjoyed this coming-of-age story. While the story of an awkward teenager coming out of his shell thanks to the wisdom of a glorified goofball/slacker is nothing really new, writers/directors Nat Faxon and Jim Rash made the film feel fresh and unique. The funny parts are really funny and the drama is blended perfectly to give the film a very human approach. Add in great performances from Liam James, Steve Carell, Toni Collette and, most importantly, Sam Rockwell and you have the makings of a very endearing, very amusing movie. Expand
  5. Feb 18, 2015
    8
    Either Liam James is a brilliant actor or is so naturally awkward I could just punch him in the face. Steve Carrel shows he is more then justEither Liam James is a brilliant actor or is so naturally awkward I could just punch him in the face. Steve Carrel shows he is more then just a character to laugh at and can deliver a performance unlike any other he has done before while still being believable. Sam Rockwell made this movie wonderful along with his supporting cast and excellent writing from Nat Faxon and Jim Rash. From start to finish I enjoyed this movie even though I wanted to punch the main character in the face to toughen him up. I couldn't help but smile all the way through. i would give it an 8-8.5 but this rating system doesn't let me do decimals. Expand
  6. Sep 27, 2013
    8
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. As a teenage boy myself, this film hit all the right notes for me. The cast was brilliant, and did an incredible job. Sam Rockwell especially shined as the kind of cool adult us teens look up to, who isn't as level headed as he seems. Steve Carrell was a convincing scum bag, and the scene near the end where Carrell and Rockwell meet almost broke my heart with the beautiful way Rockwell defended poor Duncan. The story was hilarious, but never unrealistic. It had its comedy gold moments, and it's bluntly truthful moments. Overall, this film had one of the strongest scripts of the summer, and it's certainly one of my favorite films of the year. Expand
  7. Nov 27, 2013
    0
    There are good movies, bad movies, and movies so south of bad that I had to walk out early on. It's so much worse than terrible that it wasThere are good movies, bad movies, and movies so south of bad that I had to walk out early on. It's so much worse than terrible that it was painful to sit through the "humor." I don't know whether to be more surprised that only two users rated it negative or that so many people liked it. I am certainly surprised that Andrew O'Heir gave it 80. Basically you have parents who treat their children terribly, which isn't funny, and running gags like unsuccessful lazy eye surgery that really isn't funny. Add to that the fact that Janney either has no flair for comedy or her director has no talent for comedy, or both. Expand

See all 37 User Reviews

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