The Way Way Back is the story Duncan (Liam James), a young boy torn between two father figures.
His mother's boyfriend Trent (Steve Carrell) is a smarmy used car salesman who has all the trappings of success but none of the class to go with it.
During a vacation at his summer house, Trent bullies Duncan to the point that the boy takes refuge at a water park, where he finds acceptance among the slacker staff led by Owen (Sam Rockwell).
Duncan is enamoured of Owen's easy-going charm, but never quite gets that there's a lot of sadness under his happy-go-lucky surface.
The main theme is basically that jerks thrive while nice dudes wither, which is fairly rare as far as themes in Hollywood flicks go.
According the movies, good guys are supposed to come out tops.
It's BS, of course, but it's reassuring BS.
The Way Way Back gets closer to the ugly truth that good guys rarely get anywhere.
It's interesting to see this thesis play out before the innocent eyes of Duncan, who will soon be reaching the point where he'll have to decide what sort of man he wants to be.
Ideally, he will combine Owen's humanity with Trent's discipline, but this won't be an easy task.
This is the sort of picture that I would like to take my sons to, and then talk to them about it later, if only to find out from them whether they think I'm a Trent or an Owen.
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