When The Way, Way Back premiered at Sundance last month, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash’s homage to Meatballs was the rare festival offering that had the fun feel of a summer movie. Now, it’s official. Fox Searchlight — which won a $10 million bidding war for the comedy — announced today that the comedy will be released on Friday, July 5. Sam Rockwell stars as a laid-back waterpark manager who takes a young teen (Liam James) under his wing during the boy’s difficult summer vacation with his single mom (Toni Collette) and her mean-spirited boyfriend (Steve Carell). Allison Janney, Maya Rudolph, Amanda Peet, and Rob Corddry also star.
It’s the first film written and directed by Faxon and Rash, who won an Oscar for co-writing The Descendents with Alexander Payne last year. “Nat and I grew up on John Hughes and Meatballs,” Rash, who also appears on NBC’s Community, told EW at Sundance. “Hughes knew how to explore teen problems without talking down to it. So we really, if anything, wanted to create a nostalgic feeling of a movie that hopefully crosses all those lines for everybody.”
Disney’s Lone Ranger and Universal’s Despicable Me 2 (also featuring Carell) are also slated to open that expanded Independence Day weekend, though those two are getting a head start with a Wednesday opening on July 3.