George is a special kind of slacker, a smart one whose been able to make it all the way to graduation without doing homework, projects or even tests. Things get complicated when the principle cracks down on him and then to make matters even more tricky, he accidentally befriends Sally, the popular hot chick who he reluctantly falls for.
There are countless teen angst movies out there that focus on different aspects of High School such as teen love, prom, being cool, sex and of course who can throw the biggest and best parties. Because the High School niche is so vast, oftentimes it becomes easy as a viewer to get lost in the jumbled mess. THE ART OF GETTING BY distances itself from the norm on most levels, focussing more on the reality of being a teenager in this day and age. I had my reservations about this film at first, but I have to admit, there's a lot of truth floating about this flick, hard truths, the ones that sneak up on us when we're young and kick us in the face. These trials and tribulations are game changers, they can and do often times determine our strengths, our weaknesses and test our resolve as we're moulded into the men and women of tomorrow. This flick comes at us from a mostly male point of view, but I'd be hard pressed to believe there's any guy out there who wouldn't be able to relate with George on at least some level.
Painting an accurate picture does have its drawbacks however. This by no means is a happy-go-lucky film, nor is it a comedy. As a matter a fact, it's pretty damn depressing. George's outlook on life isn't all the eccentric or out of place for being seventeen/eighteen, but as far as school goes, I know teachers have become a bit slack over the years but letting everything slide till the end of the year and then letting him make it all up in the last three weeks seems like a bit of a stretch to me. I dug how they didn't pull any punches when it comes to the game of love either. We all remember our first burn, and it's never pretty. I felt for this poor bastard because we've all been there, waiting too long to say the right thing (or anything at all) only to lose your chick to the next guy in line. It's rough, but they got it right on the money here.
THE ART OF GETTING BY is picture perfect view of life as a teenager out in the real world. Reality seldom means rainbows, leprechauns and unicorns and that's where this flick excels. Freddy Highmore and Emma Roberts handle their leading roles well, nothing memorable but at least they were believable. Blair Underwood and Alicia Silverstone (who doesn't seem to be aging well, yikes) make cameo appearances as school faculty, but the coolest of the bunch was Harris the Art teacher, he was the shit. One thing did stick out though, the fact that everywhere these kids went they were handed booze by parents and at bars despite the fact they're only eighteen. This flick takes place in New York folks, where the drinking age is twenty-one. Hell, I live in Canada where getting drunk is a national pass time and our drinking age is still nineteen. I guess New York's a lot cooler than I thought.
This flick isn't gold, but it spoke to me on a personal level. I saw more than a few situations here than reminded me of High School, and all the lessons they don't teach you in the classroom. It's not perfect, but there's something here to be sure. It does however make me shake my head and whisper, "if I only knew then what I know now."