The Way, Way Back is the latest comedy from Fox Searchlight to open up to critical acclaim. Premiering at the Sundance Film Festival this past January, Fox Searchlight acquired the distribution rights and gave the film a limited release starting on July 5, 2013, in 19 theaters. Last Friday, the studio expanded the film to 79 screens before going a tad bit wider today with 304 screens.
The film stars Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Allison Janney, Annasophia Robb, Sam Rockwell, Maya Rudolph, Rob Corddry, Amanda Peet, and Liam James. Written and directed by Nat Faxon (Ben and Kate) and Jim Rash (Community), the film is a very funny and poignant coming of age story.
Faxon and Rash, who co-wrote the Oscar-winning screenplay for The Descendants with Alexander Payne tap into their improv background in an original story that evolves around a water park. They told Entertainment Weekly in the July 19th issue about how long of a process it took for the film to go from just an idea to getting financing and eventually released. The screenplay was first written back in 2005 and was almost acquired by Fox Searchlight in 2007. Outside of Fox Searchlight, which opted against moving forward, nobody was interested in financing until they were on stage at the Oscars with Payne. After bringing the cast on board, they secured financing for the $5 million budget.
Sam Rockwell brings to the film what Bill Murray brought to Meatballs. Could Rockwell end up with an Oscar nomination for supporting actor? Maybe.
The film starts as Carell’s character delivers a speech to Duncan (Liam James) that was once delivered to Rash when he was 14.
Duncan is going on a summer vacation with his mom, Pam (Collette), her boyfriend, Trent (Carell), and Trent’s daughter, Steph (Zoe Levin). Duncan really is not fitting in and rides his bike to the nearby Water Wizz park, where he befriends the manager, Owen. This leads to a job at the park. Duncan slowly begins to open up and find out who he is during one unforgettable summer.
It is no surprise that Fox Searchlight advertises that the film is from the same studio that brought us both Little Miss Sunshine and Juno because this film is just as funny as those two Oscar nominees.
As much as I enjoyed This is The End and The Kings of Summer, I feel that this is the comedy of the year and should pick up the comedy slot for Best Picture when Oscar nominations are announced next year.