“The Art of Getting By” is a movie that’s playing at your local AMC Theater as an Indie attraction. AMC brings these movies to theaters every now and then to give general audiences a chance to see something a little different from exploding robots, pirates, and wizarding teenagers. I would have rather walked the plank.
The flick is about George (Freddie Highmore), an underachieving high school senior who has stopped doing his homework. The movie (sorry, film) starts with a monologue about how everyone is going to die someday, and that really trying or living or succeeding is a moot point, so why bother with, well, anything?
The Cure called, they want their fan back. It’s so much harder to care for a character that hates everything and wants to be left alone than it is to care for a character that is alone and doesn’t want to be anymore. Who would you rather hang out with? The lonely widow next door or the jerk who tells you to get off his lawn, you dang kid?
George eventually runs into Sally (Emma Roberts) and they embark on one of those romances former high school outcasts like myself fantasized about on lonely Friday Nights. You know, the kind where the girl is hot, accepts you for who you are, takes care of you, has no noticeable flaws, and wants to have sex with you really bad?
I can’t be the only person who deems this a leap of faith equal to that of transforming alien robots, right?
Anyway, they fall in love, he clams up, she dates his older, cooler, mentor, and we’re essentially in “Adventureland” minus a good script, entertainment, and carnival rides.
The film is written and directed by rookie Gavin Wiesen. And, believe it or not, I am almost certain this is the movie he wanted to make. Characters talk in complete sentences, sometimes two at a time, using big or complicated phrases. Wisen is in love with his words and his script, just no one else is.
However, there is love and care that went into this film. The aesthetics are great, and the film could arguably just be an excuse for an indie-pop soundtrack over shots of young people yearning for each other. Wait, that’s wrong. There’s actually not very much yearning in this film at all. George is oblivious the entire film. There’s a point where Sally throws herself at him so blatantly, even Stephan Hawking would be able to make a move.
The entire movie just made me angry and annoyed, and I’m sick of movies about characters who don’t want to be loved. Especially movies featuring attractive people who would have absolutely zero reason to feel that way. This is INDIE cinema. This is supposed to be the cutting the edge, what Hollywood can’t handle, and we get a crappy rehash of Dawson’s Creek?
I mean there's stuff here involving his parents and his highschool and Sally's parents, but none of it really matters because the love story is just so...dumb. The supporting cast is wasted giving advice to characters I could care less about.
Lonely Friday Night fantasies do not make good films. They’re fantasies. “The Art of Getting By” is porno for the pseudo intellectual. And It’s not even good porn. I’m sure there’s value in it for high school students, but they’re too busy watching more realistic fair like Harry Potter.