A not-bad movie that held my attention and kept me chuckling. Even as it was completely formulaic; that's OK if things move along competently, supported by interesting detail.
14-year-old Duncan is a mopy kid. His mom and dad have split up, with dad departed for California. Pam, his mom (Toni Collette) has taken up with Trent, played by Steve Carell. Think: a slightly-smarter Michael Scott, with few, if any, of Michael's redeeming qualities. Trent treats Duncan as a rival for Pam's attentions, and since Pam is desperately lonely, Duncan is left to mope.
But they are off to spend summer at Trent's beach house (the movie was filmed in Marshfield, MA: where you go when you can't afford Cape Cod). There they encounter colorful neighbors, most notably Betty. (Allison Janney, practicing for her bawdy-alcoholic role in the current TV sitcom Mom)
But Duncan wallows in his lonely misery until he happens upon more colorful characters at the Water Wizz water park (an actual place on the Cape). Prime character is the daffy Owen (Sam Rockwell), who gives him a job. Which Duncan keeps secret from Mom. The water park proves to be a nurturing environment for Duncan, who gains a measure of self-respect and independence. Until the crisis, which is inevitable by the rules of Movie Comedy Writing 101.
I'm watching Toni Collette in the TV series Hostages; this movie reminded me that she's a much better actress than she displays in that show.
But this movie would be nowhere without Sam Rockwell, who pretty much just takes over with his charismatic offbeat humor when he's onscreen.