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The Boston Globe

Movies

Movie Review

‘The Way, Way Back’ is a shore thing

From left: Liam James, Sam Rockwell, and Jim Rash at the Water Wizz water park in a scene from “The Way, Way Back.”

And the cast is certainly worth a look, even if the relatively unknown Liam James (TV’s “The Killing” and “Psych”) has the main role of Duncan, a teenager marooned in the most awkward years of adolescence. Not that the adults are making it easier. His unseen father has high-tailed it to the West Coast and his mother, Pam (Toni Collette), has taken up with a snide, short-tempered car salesman named Trent (Steve Carell). This is a first — Carell playing a jerk — and he’s good enough to remind you of all the tinpot dictators you had to put up with when you were Duncan’s age. On a scale of 1 to 10, Trent rates Duncan a 3. To his face.

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