The Art of Getting By

Freddie Highmore is an English actor best known for being Charlie in the Tim Burton version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Here, however, he plays an annoyingly angst riddled New York teen whose obsession with death and unbridled laziness somehow win him the heart of Emma Roberts. Yep, it’s another totally unbelievable story which descends from Hollywood writers who were bullied in High School living out their unfulfilled fantasies on the big screen. What this turns into is a very banal version of Gossip Girl.

The main problem is that where Freddie Highmore used to be cute and earnestly lovable he’s turned into an awkward man who isn’t, in all honesty, a very good actor. He does a good American accent but beyond that the performance is a little dead, like staring into the eyes of a CGI humanoid. On the other hand Emma Roberts is a really vibrant screen presence, but the whole romance is so ‘yuck’ that it’s hard to see beyond what exactly her agent was thinking in even letting her read this script.

Talking of the script; if you’re looking for clunky dialogue that could’ve been ripped out of ‘What Teens Might Say If They Were Cleverer’ then you’ve found your film. The film itself is meandering and lacking edge, but the dialogue leaves even more to be desired. You will leave the theatre being genuinely surprised by the thought that writer/director Gavin Wiesen has ever heard young people speak. Or humans for that matter.

Another entry into the ‘pretentious teen films’ collection. Highmore needs to work hard to restore his floundering reputation.

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