I can’t express how much I loved this movie, it has been such a long time since a movie effected me like this and as soon as I left the theater I instantly wanted to see it again.
The story takes place in the present day but has a very nostalgic feel to it so it was no surprise to learn this was originally scripted as a period piece. We have all been there dragged along on a family holiday force to make friends with complete strangers for the summer but for the lead character Duncan it’s so much worse. He is off to the holiday home of his mums new boyfriend, Trent played by Steve Carell. I love Steve Carell and it was weird and powerful to see him playing a completely straight role as the nasty Trent who is less than kind to Ducan and even more despicable to his mother played by Toni Collette who puts in a solid performance as well Toni Collette (she is pretty much the same in every movie which is not a bad thing but she does play to type).
When the movie started I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy it, it seemed a bit heavy and overly dramatic and Carell as the bad guy threw me somewhat but as soon as they arrived at the house and we were introduced to the manic neighbour Betty (Alison Janey – always a fantastic character actress) I knew this movie had more to it. The real star of the show and the person that completely made the movie for me was Sam Rockwell as Owen the owner of the water park which provides a salvation for Duncan in his time of need.
The character and his employees are so well written they seem like real people, the banter they have with each other never seems rehearsed, expected or corny and they really become the heart and soul of the movie. Although these characters are extremely funny, and believe me when they are on screen they are a laugh a minute, they are deep and well thought out. You understand their motivations and why they do what they do. You want to belong to this little band of misfits as they take Duncan under their wing and show him what others don’t see, that he is a pretty awesome person and deserves to be treated better.
This movie was funny, witty, heart wrenching and extremely enjoyable and I can’t wait to see it again!