The Art of Getting By (Review)

Formulaic coming-of-age romance doesn't quite get by

Jun 17, 2011 at 2:06 pm

One of two things must be true about the reason George Zinavoy (Freddie Highmore) has spent his senior year at a Manhattan prep school ignoring every assignment and spending his lunch hour "pleasure"-reading Camus: either 1) he's genuinely depressed and in need of real medical help, or 2) he's an affected, privileged twit playing at existential despair, in which case his world can be turned around by the attentions of hot, popular Sally (Emma Roberts). And there you have the basic problem of writer/director Gavin Wiesen's mundane coming-of-age romance, though there are plenty of other problems with a script that also has George tailing his suspicious-acting stepdad and becoming pals with a cocky young artist (Michael Angarano). It might have helped if Highmore had been able to convey an emotion more profound than general malaise, or if Roberts' Sally weren't nearly as unlikable as George is. What remains is formulaic romantic comedy that attempts some familiar indie-pic variations on the theme but ignores the most fundamental need of the genre: Somewhere, there better be somebody you actually want to root for. Grade: C

Opens June 17. Check out theaters and show times, see the trailer and get theater details here.