The Art of Getting By Gavin Wiesen

The Art of Getting By Gavin Wiesen
Boiled down to its simplest, angst-y Holden Caulfield terms, George Zinavoy's (Freddie Highmore) guiding 17-year-old ideology is something akin to, "What's the point of doing homework when we're all just going to die alone anyways?" It's a worldview irksome to his pragmatic mother (Rita Wilson) and optimistic English teacher (Alicia "Batgirl" Silverstone), who just want him to get into a good college, but it's oddly appealing to the image preoccupied popular girl, Sally Howe (Emma Roberts). Being a teenager in NYC, she's prone to the pressures of the bohemian art scene, wherein poseurs and sycophants gravitate towards the notable and buzz-worthy to stand around and self-consciously play the part of socialite. While tenuously flirting with her fatalistic trench coat wearing emo suitor, she excitedly jumps on a networking opportunity when introduced to his older, dishevelled, artist friend, Dustin (Michael Angorano), becoming his piece of ass du jour, much to the chagrin of the smitten George. Of course, it's all positioned with a little more sweetness and misunderstanding, so as not to make any character loathsome, but Wiesen's flat, almost visionless direction doesn't guide us anymore than the generic, uninspired screenplay. In essence, this is a coming-of-age story about a kid going through an existential crisis realizing that conformity is a necessary evil, but it doesn't sell its point any more than it convinces us of the proposed teen hormones and passions. Part of this has to do with Highmore's one-note, dead-eyed depiction of a clichéd character, while the rest involves clumsy coverage and humdrum scenarios that fail to heighten conflict or passion. It's not a terrible film by any means, but it's exceedingly forgettable, much like the brief supplements about the awesomeness of NYC and the tenderness of young love. (Fox)