Director: Gavin Wiesen
Starring: Freddie Highmore, Emma Roberts
Runtime: 84 minutes
The Art of Getting By
"The Art of Getting By". It's a real shame that such a smooth, flexible title has been wasted on such an obnoxious, pathetic load of drivel. It sounds like a film that you would go to see to get a realistic, effective outlook on teen angst and life in general. However, if you go and see the film for these reasons, you will be sorely disappointed. I am seriously struggling to find a speck of social relevance in this film, or absolutely anything that I even enjoyed in the slightest about it. Even if there was redeeming factors, they have probably been overshadowed by the other aspects of this horrid piece of cinema.
In one scene of the film, Freddie Highmore's character George is sitting in a taxi with Emma Roberts' character Sally, as they are discussing an art show they have just been to, which was created by George's friend Dustin. He labels Dustin as "a blow off" and "derivative". I don't think I have ever heard a more hypocritical comment made in a film in my entire life. Even when this film does come up with something that even hints a morsel of originality, which it seldom does, it ruins it by being corny, badly filmed and horribly played out. Both of the main characters have absolutely zero presence, and this reflects badly on the narrative of the film as a whole.
The delivery and timing in this film is truly despicable. The character Dustin is completely sprung out of nowhere, and you have no idea why he is even there. In one part of the film, he ends up dating Sally, much to George's dismay. However, when Sally decides that she wants to be with George instead of Dustin, their relationship is never finalised. For all we know, she's sleeping around. Not even a small section of the dialog indicates that she has ended her relationship with Dustin to be with George, and it really makes you question the structure of this film. Even after her and George get together, you don't feel happy for them, due to the horrible lack of chemistry between the two leads.
The obvious aim of this film is to be emotionally resonant, but instead it is the exact opposite. The scenes in this film that are supposed to be funny are so awkward and stupidly placed that they end up being horrifyingly unfunny, and has the viewer checking their watch to see how much more of the torture they have to endure. The only slightly likable character in this film is George's art teacher, but I refuse to give a film marks for a developed character that features in five, maybe six scenes. The acting as a whole is completely bland, and as a result, anyone in the right mind who watches it won't give a flying monkeys about the characters. The characters in this film are constantly making points, which are never related back to later in the film. The characters also contradict themselves regularly, for example, George says at the start of the film that death comes to everyone, so he has no fear of it - yet two minutes later exclaims that he is afraid of dying.
This film constantly tries to convey this deep meaning of life, but every single important aspect of it is so lame, obnoxious and unlikable that it completely fails in doing so. To add insult to injury, every scene within the first 40 minutes of the film is shaky. Some films benefit from shaky filming, because it suits the film that its in, but this film didn't even need shaky filming, at any point. Characters were repeatedly in the center of the screen which is just blatant stupid, 95% of the characters are persistently annoying and undeveloped, and the dialog tries so hard to be relevant and meaningful that it turns out plain dumb. The narrative is formulaic and doesn't pay homage to so many classic teen angst comedies that it so blatantly rips off.