If you’re into the Splenda sweetened version of Salinger inspired teen dramedies, then The Art of Getting By is right up your alley.
While the coming-of-age-NYC-kid-in-existential-crisis movie is nothing novel, it’s who you cast and how you deal with the issues that make all the difference. The Art of Getting By is fairly formulaic, but its casting of child actor-turned adult Freddie Highmore (Finding Neverland) scored it some extra points.
Highmore plays brilliant but uninspired senior slacker George. George has spent 12 years in school perfecting the art of doing just enough to maintain. It’s not until he meets pretty and popular Sally, effortlessly played by Emma Roberts, that George begins to see some color in his otherwise dull existence.
With Sally and unofficial mentor Dustin (Michael Angarano) by his side, George steps outside of his comfort zone of laziness. Sally introduces him to the regular ol’ teenage world of drinking, parties, hook ups, and random adventures, while Dustin helps him realizes his potential as an artist.
With great supporting roles from Rita Wilson to Elizabeth Reaser, who plays a 180 from her maternal Twilight character, the cast infuses vivaciousness into an otherwise played out storyline. It’s the characters who kept me hooked and invested until the end.
While this movie probably won’t make cinematic history, it’s awkwardly cute and pretty realistic, something that’s hard to find in teen flicks these days.