Surely a film about a fourteen-year-old boy who strikes up a friendship with a man in forties who refuses to grow is going to be a bit creepy? Well, apparently, no. This film has its creep factor, but amazingly, that’s not it.
Duncan (Liam James) is taken away for the summer with his mother, Pam (Toni Collette) to the holiday house of her boyfriend, Trent (Steve Carrell). Trent’s daughter races off with friends, leaving Duncan to find his own way. So while Pam and Trent and enjoying drunken, stoned nights with vivacious neighbour Betty (Allyson Janney) and other friends, Duncan forms a friendship with the manager of the local water park, Owen (Sam Rockwell). Owen gives Duncan a job where he starts to come out of his shell with the help of a strange group of employees.
This cast is filled with some of my favourite actors. In fact, I think I love little more in life than seeing Steve Carrell play a nasty character – and boy is Trent nasty. He bullies everyone around him, but comes across as jovial. The scenario is so well-played that I wanted Duncan to just leave, and had to remind myself that he is a fourteen-year-old boy. Where would he go? His desperation at times was so intense, and I found myself in tears several times. What a good sign that is.