THE ART OF GETTING BY
MOVIE: *1/2 (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
Noticeably absent from Fox Searchlight’s award season push, “The Art of Getting By” is one of those films that has slipped through the cracks. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. Starring Freddie Highmore as a privileged private school student in New York, this film tries its damnedest to be a rallying cry for the disenfranchised youth of today. Not being a disenfranchised youth of today, it was mostly lost on me.
Highmore plays George Zinavoy, a student who has lost his interest in life, the universe and everything. He’s got a crush on Sally (Emma Roberts), but she plays mind games with him, and he’s not mature enough to deal with it. His home life is shaky, threatening his lifestyle, and George just can’t seem to muster the interest to do even the bare minimum in school. Together with Sally, George tries to find a way to move forward.
Were I to have seen this film 25 years ago when I was a teenager, I might have embraced it. However, as a middle-aged man and a parent myself, I found myself consistently annoyed with the characters and their actions. It exists in a fantasy world where teenagers wish they could live, having late-night parties with no parental supervision and being able to order drinks at any bar in New York City they desire. It’s a rich slacker paradise, where teenager can mope and murmur about the pointlessness of the world.
Freddie Highmore, who was very promising as a younger actor, has gotten a lot of praise for this movie, even if the film itself hasn’t. However, his delivery of even the most simple lines fall flat. Highmore looks too unassuming and friendly to really pull of the sullen teenager bit. And his interaction with Emma Roberts, who is growing up to be an attractive and quality actress, is lacking punch. Both Highmore and Roberts have done better work.
So, it will probably click with a teenager who wishes he or she could live this way, but to anyone living in the real world, this has as much to do with real life as any of the “Twilight” or “Transformers” movies.
The Blu-ray includes the theatrical trailer, audio commentary by director Gavin Wiesen, the cable featurettes “Fox Movie Channel Presents In Character with Freddie Highmore” and “HBO’s First Look: the Making of The Art of Getting By.” Two other featurettes include “On Young Love” and “New York Slice of Life” which commits the greatest sin of featurettes by prattling on and on about how New York City is a character in the film.