The Way Way Back (2013)

Link: The Way, Way Back

Summary: A teenager tries to survive a summer vacation with his divorced mother’s new evil jerk boyfriend.

Thoughts: I’m not sure I really understand these awkward comedies; it’s like they want you to laugh at the main character’s dorky awkwardness and feel sorry for him at the same time, like you’re supposed to identify with him and then laugh at yourself.  And while I think dealing with an annoying jerk is universally relatable (as played to perfection by Steve Carell in his most loathsome role yet as the divorced mother’s new evil Candy Land Nazi boyfriend), relating to an overly self-conscious brooding teenager is not the most interesting or enjoyable mental exercise, at least not for me.  The film centers around the main character’s search for self-confidence, but he seems to mostly miraculously gain it externally, mostly by hanging around with the bizarre outgoing-funny-charming-immature adult character played by Sam Rockwell, who’s ready and eager to push a random awkward teenager out of his comfort zone and into the zone of self-confidence-building socially awkward situations, just like the friend I’m sure every awkward teenager daydreams of meeting.  I didn’t understand this film at all.

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