The Art of Getting By

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art of getting by

These two had chemistry, but needed a better script.

The Art of Getting By is the movie you should let go by.

Emma Roberts (the adorable niece of Julia Roberts) just did this movie earlier this year. It was called It’s a Kind of Funny Story.

Freddie Highmore (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) stars as the loner, geek rebel who doesn’t do homework. Since he’s going to die someday, he doesn’t see the point in homework. It’s a bit of a refreshing take from the usual complaint of kids that merely ask “When will we use this in real life?”

I don’t think these teen movies have to be Ferris Bueller (even though he was so much more creative in his ways of not doing homework); but how many pictures do we need to see with the sensitive artist (I’ve already seen two this year)?

Highmore’s parents are played by two actors you don’t see all that much. Rita Wilson, the wife of Tom Hanks (who I hated in this role). And Sam Robards, who is in one of my all-time favorite films (Fandango with Kevin Costner – rent it).

As the stepfather who lies about many things in his life, his part was poorly written.

I shouldn’t just attack his part for being poorly written, the entire movie is.

Alicia Silverstone is forgettable in her role as a teacher.

The principal is played well by Blair Underwood, but the problem is that same character we’ve seen countless times – the tough guy who deep down, really does care.

Writer/director Gavin Wiesen proves himself to be an inept filmmaker with this picture.

The kids all seem so unrealistic as they feel sorry for themselves, and the way they philosophize about life. At least they do look like teenagers.

Early on, they had a few interesting lines.

“Do you have any friends?”

“Well…I’m kind of a misanthrope.”

The problem is the many attempts at humor that just fall flat (one being the scene with the boy waking up with an erection, only to fall on the floor in an attempt to hide it from the girl in the room).

There’s the scene with the kid that drinks too much and barfs.

There’s the geek underdog we’re supposed to root for – who is usually played by Michael Cera or Jesse Eisenberg.

There’s the scene where the cute girl asks the geek if he’s a virgin.

There’s the scene with friends contemplating having sex with each other, and the girl deciding that would be a bad idea because it would change everything between them.

There’s the bad parenting, including the mother that’s flirtatious with a young boy.

There’s the sensitive artist, who’s extremely talented.

There’s the abstract artist, and the usual debates about if that’s real art. When one artist calls him derivative, I thought that was the perfect description of the movie.

This film also deals with a kid that hates doing homework. Well, watching this and writing the review for it is one of the few times I felt like I was doing homework instead of something I love.

At least this movie doesn’t just borrow from all the other teen angst films we’ve seen before. There’s a graduation scene where we’re left wondering if Highmore will make the cut or not. I’m not sure why he wouldn’t know that before showing up, but…it was like the graduation scene in Top Gun and An Officer and a Gentleman.

If you’re really craving another coming-of-age comedy (because it’s been at least two weeks since we’ve had one), wait a little longer. The movie Submarine was one of my favorites of the year, and it’ll be out soon.

This movie gets 1 out of 5 stars.

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