Film Reviews – The Way Way Back, The Worlds End.

JABBA’S MOVIES Sunday 4th August 2013

THE WAY WAY BACK.

The-Way-Way-Back-On-A-Scale

Two films that have a couple of things in common  – men who struggle to grow up, and a yearning for the past…

From the writers of the George Clooney film The Descendants which picked up 5 Oscar nominations and a win for Best Writing for an adapted screenplay beating out The Ides of March and Moneyball comes a very sweet, very funny, very painful coming of age movie.

I know when I was 14 and got shipped off to Lakes Entrance in Victoria every summer holidays, I could only dream of the cool stuff that happens to the lead character Duncan, would happen to me.

Duncan’s (Liam James) summer vacation with his mother, Pam (Toni Collette), her overbearing boyfriend, Trent (Steve Carell), and his daughter, Steph (Zoe Levin).

Steve Carrell plays a massive tool, and just by virtue of having Steve Carrell’s face I laughed out loud every time he was on the screen, even when he was being super mean to Duncan. Sample line, he asks Duncan to rate himself out of ten, Duncan says six – Steve Carrell says “I’d say you’re more of a 3”.

Having a rough time fitting in, the introverted Duncan finds an unexpected friend in gregarious Owen (Sam Rockwell), manager of the Water Wizz water park.

This is such a cool role for Sam Rockwell to play, living in an apartment at a water park in Cape Cod, master of his tiny universe; he is the larger than life male figure that Duncan needs to bring him out of his shell.

They say that boys need uncles, and Sam along with the other staff at the water park including Roddy played by Nat Faxon one of the writer/directors of the film, provide some much needed male nurturing.

Watching Duncan bloom from this bruised husk of a boy into his first incarnation of manhood is really delightful.

Equal parts hilarious, moving and refreshing, try it if you like 80’s movies like the Breakfast Club or the gorgeous Little Miss Sunshine.

4 & ½.

THE WORLD’S END.

Directed by Edgar Wright. (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World)

The third instalment of director Edgar Wright’s trilogy of comedies starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, following the successes “Shaun of the Dead” (2004) and “Hot Fuzz” (2007). Also referred to as the Cornetto trilogy.

It’s a common theme for the director and his two leads – a small bunch of mates against the world, previously zombies and murderers, now weird alien robots. And like “The Way Way Back”, a central theme of this film is how different people can remain stunted well into adulthood.

In “The World’s End,” 20 years after attempting an epic pub-crawl, five childhood friends reunite when one of them becomes hell-bent on trying the drinking marathon again. They are convinced to stage an encore by Gary King (Simon Pegg), who drags his reluctant pals to their hometown and once again attempts to reach the fabled pub – The World’s End.

The story moves along simply enough with the old mates at varying levels of enthusiasm for the drinkathon, and most of the gags come from Pegg’s man-child personality clashing with the more sophisticated attitudes of his schoolyard acquaintances.

The interaction between the cast makes it utterly believable that they could have gone to school together and been mates 20 years before. It’s fitting that Simon Pegg channels Ricky Gervais’ brilliant creation from the UK Office – David Brent., because one of the leads is Martin Freeman – aka Tim Canterbury aka Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit.

Seemingly unaware of his incompetence and narcissm, Pegg anchors the film with great charisma, and makes a heroic turn representing the teenage boy in a forty-year-old man’s body in all of us.

For men who can’t, won’t or don’t want to grow up everywhere – we salute you.

4 & ½.

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